HYDERABAD: After the resounding ‘win’ over the State government regarding the Errum Manzil demolition, heritage activists are now planning to take up the matter of restoration of the palace. Although lawyers and heritage activists are jubilant about the judgement, they expressed caution regarding the future of Errum Manzil. Sajjad Shahid, a historian, said, “The next step for us would be to take up the issue of restoration of the palace with the government. Otherwise, they will leave it as it is, waiting for it to crumble.”
Founder of Hyderabad Heritage Trust, Deepak Gir, expressed a similar concern while speaking to Express regarding the matter. “Now that the HC has cleared it from demolition, we will very soon take up the cleaning process. And as for the restoration, we cannot wait for the government to procure funds and take it up. If needed, we will take it up ourselves and work towards transforming it into a creative space.”
The concerns come well-founded as there are many such heritage structures — included in Regulation 13 of the Zoning Regulations, 1981 — that have been left as it is. Structures, such as Mahbub Mansion and Yousuf Tekhri are in a dilapidated condition and their state is worsening by the day.
It is important to note that the government had brought in the Telangana Heritage Law in 2015, thus ‘repealing’ Regulation 13 of the Zoning Regulations, 1981, which protected 151 sites like Errum Manzil, Mahbub Mansion, Chowmahalla Palace and so on. The High Court in its judgement on Monday specifically stated that the regulation was not repealed and that it, and its various other components, are still valid.
Heritage Conservation Committee likely to make a comeback
Omim Maneckshaw Debara, who fought two of the eight PILs, said that the government has to reconstitute the HCC now. “Now that the government has ruled that Regulation 13 of the Zoning Regulations, 1981, is still viable, the government has to reconstitute the HCC.” When it was functional, the HCC acted as an intermediary for developments around heritage monuments and as reported in Express earlier, it at various points in time, protected Errum Manzil from illegal developments in its vicinity. However, Sajjad Shahid, who was also a former member of HCC seemed sceptical. “In the last few years before the State brought in the Heritage Law, the HCC was not functional. They might do the same again,” he said