HYDERABAD: Just a few months more, and a UNESCO delegation would be arriving in the city to inspect the Golconda Fort and the Qutb Shahi Tombs for the World Heritage Site tag. However, a look at the ground reality shows that a lot of work is yet to be completed, while many are yet to begin.
In the stakeholder’s meeting convened by Chief Secretary S K Joshi in early January, he had directed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to remove encroachments around the Murda Darwaza -- an ancient path connecting the Golconda Fort and the Qutb Shahi tombs. Joshi had also asked the municipal body to reclaim other encroached lands around the vicinity and improve sanitation, among other beautification works.
However, a look around the vicinity of the Golconda Fort shows that it is more of the same. While works on the moat have started, garbage continues to gather near the darwazas. The GHMC had stated earlier that it would have to take a survey of the area with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials in order to address the encroachment issue. However, no such surveys were taken up in the following months, as per sources.
The Chief Secretary had also asked the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), another member of the stakeholder’s meeting in January, to form a draft policy on the two sites. The policy includes mapping the whole of Golconda Fort, in a bid to regulate construction activities and identify encroachments. As early as March, the draft policy document were sent by the AKTC to different stakeholders. However, no action has been taken on it so far. Sources said that the Chief Secretary is supposed to take a call on the draft policy.
Meanwhile, reports claimed that the Union Ministry has not even forwarded the Deccan Sultanate nomination -- comprising monuments from Telangana and Karnataka -- to the UNESCO. Reportedly, the nomination was not even considered a second option by the Union Ministry.
Second opportunity for Qutb Shahi Tombs
Even if the nomination for the ‘Deccan Sultanate monuments’ have not been forwarded by the Union Ministry to UNESCO as reports claim, it does not mean the end of the road for Qutb Shahi tombs or the Golconda Fort for the much-coveted World Heritage Site tag.
The tombs and the fort are also in the tentative list of the World Heritage Site in another nomination made in 2010 -- “The Qutb Shahi Monuments of Hyderabad - Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Charminar”. “These Qutb Shahi tombs provide a unique testimony to the vibrant cosmopolitanism that characterized the medieval period in India and in the Deccan region in particular,” the nomination read. However, according to sources, the iconic Charminar has already been removed from this nomination