WARANGAL: While the State government is still patting itself on the back for the fact that the UNESCO accorded the world heritage site tag for Ramappa temple at Palampet village of Venkatapuram mandal in Mulugu district, it appears as if the authorities have decided to remain mute spectators when various business establishments are encroaching upon public lands.
According to sources, people have opened business establishments such as restaurants within the boundaries of the Warangal Fort and right in front of the Kakatiya Kala Thoranam.
Spread over 30 acres, the Warangal Fort is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958. Hence, the area within 100 metres of the boundary of the monument is a prohibited zone and that within the next 200 metres is a regulated area for the purposes of construction, reconstruction, repairs and renovation.
However, it appears as if the violators do not give two hoots about the norms and are going ahead with illegal constructions.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-Hyderabad superintending archaeologist Smitha S Kumar said that they have already served notices on such illegal constructions and have managed to stop a few from continuing the works in the restricted area.According to the ASI officials, the authorities have issued a notice to the owner of the restaurant for taking up construction works in the buffer zone.
"Apart from informing the higher-ups in Hyderabad regarding this, we have also filed a complaint at the local police station," the ASI officials said and alleged that illegal structures were constructed in the buffer zone with the help and support of the State government departments.
"Though we requested the departments concerned and the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC) not to provide power and water connections to the structures since they were located in the prohibited area of the fort, the government turned a blind eye to our appeals. It appears as if the government departments are indirectly encouraging such encroachments in the area," the ASI officials alleged.
"It is not like we don’t allow constructions on the fort premises. If one files papers for taking up construction works in the area, we will go through their request and provide No Objection Certificates if eligible," they added.
The officials also stated that though the ASI headquarters in Delhi served notices on the collector seeking the immediate dismantlement of illegal structures, the district administration hasn’t responded to it yet.
Meanwhile, INTACH Telangana convener Anuradha Pingali Reddy urged the citizens and the government to work hand-in-hand to save such heritage sites. "We should take it upon ourselves to ensure the protection of all these forts, wells, temples, dargahs and lakes," Anuradha added.