HYDERABAD: A giant yellow earthmover creates a racket as it gouges out the earth outside Secunderabad’s landmark Saidanima’s tomb, and dumps it into a waiting dumper. Perched atop like a bird on a mountain of soil, the routine is repeated every few minutes. How this noise and construction activity will impact the century-old monument is anybody’s guess.
Since Thursday, the work has been going on round the clock near the monument as four earthmovers have been digging the road just outside the wall. The work has been taken up by the water board to lay a sewer line to divert effluents from Kukatpally nala entering into Hussainsagar.
Ironically, the tomb is a protected heritage monument under the State Department of Archaeology and Museums. However, department officials were clueless. When asked for reaction, one official said, “We will send a technical person tomorrow to study the extent of impact on the structure. The threat aspect depends on how near is the activity and depth of the trench etc.”
“The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1960 does not allow construction activity within 100 meters from a protected monument. In cities, such rules cannot be practically followed. There is no such demarcation in our State Act,” said the official. “We have not been intimated before the work was taken up,” stated the official, requesting anonymity.
The tomb is a unique mixture of Qutb Shahi and the Mughal style architecture that visitors to Hyderabad first encounter while travelling from the Secunderabad station.
According to folklore, the tomb of Saidanima was built by her son, Abdul Haq Diler Jung, as per her wish of being buried in a quiet place. Abdul Haq was instrumental in bringing railways to Nizam’s Hyderabad during the sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Pasha’s time. About 132 years old, the monument gives a glimpse of the grandeur through its magnificent facade, the arcade at the ground floor is of cusped arches in Mughal style and the upper portion and the dome is Qutb Shahi. A GHMC official said: “It is a government project. Whatever precautions have to be taken will be taken.”
The State government’s Heritage Conservation Committee of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority has been defunct for a few years now.