HYDERABAD: Although the High Court has declared that the Cabinet decision of June 18, was “legally unsustainable”, would there still be any way that it could go ahead with its plan of demolishing Errum Manzil and building a new Assembly building in its place?
It is sketchy. According to the High Court, the government has to take permission from the HMDA on the issue. If the government does approach the HMDA, it has to refer the matter to the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC). For that to happen, the HCC has to be reconstituted. First of all, the problem for the government lies in the fact that the committee is not similar to the ones that are slated to be formed under the Telangana Heritage Law.
Unlike the latter, where the majority of officials in the committees are from the government, in the HCC, most members are heritage experts and retired bureaucrats. According to GO No 542, “Permission to demolish or to make alterations to heritage buildings may be granted only in exceptional cases by the vice-chairman, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) after obtaining the opinion of HCC, and after inviting public objections and suggestions in three local daily newspapers.”
Thus, it is safe to say that even if the government decides to go ahead with its Errum Manzil plans, it won’t be an easy path. On Monday, the HC said, “The government has also ignored the fact that the identity and character of a city are defined by its heritage and architecture. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to preserve, conserve and restore the heritage buildings of the cities.”