HYDERABAD: Non availability of revenue maps attached to the notifications of historical monuments and archaeological sites belonging to the Nizams and Qutub Shahis like Golconda Fort has become a severe impediment to identify and remove encroachments in these monuments.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)’s attempts to obtain old village revenue maps in which Golconda Fort, Charminar and other monuments are located failed to yield results as the revenue department has been sitting on their request for five months. Despite all government lands being protected, private constructions have been rampant.

Golconda: ASI, GHMC in revenue map conundrum

The case of Golconda Fort which was declared as a central government protected monument in 1951 highlights how the area has been grabbed due to lack of revenue maps as well as due to lack of coordination between ASI and state government authorities.

While the 1951 notification just says ‘Golconda Fort and Tombs’ in ‘Golconda’ locality, it was corrected via an ASI notification in 1985 which expanded the jurisdiction of the monument to describe it as ‘Golconda Fort comprising citadel, outer fortification walls, gateways and other ancient structures including Naya Quila, Qutb Shahi Mahal together with government land lying between the inner citadel and outer fortification walls.”

Giving details, ASI archaeological superintendent Milan Kumar Chauley told TOI: “The protected area includes government lands. The 1985 notification also declared all private lands as prohibited. There are no maps attached to this notification to identify which is government land and which is private land. We have written to the Hyderabad revenue department asking for the maps. ” He said the letter to the GHMC was sent about five months ago.

While ASI has to give notices, it is the district revenue and municipal administration that has to act against illegal encroachments. Chauley said,” Certain areas like Nau Mahal, Qutb Shahi Mahal are completely gone. You find only houses here. A large number of construction is coming up abutting the wall near Naya Quila. They have also constructed toilets and sewage can be seen flowing on the walls and into the fort area.”

Reacting to the ASI charges, Golconda tehsildar P Ayyappa told TOI,” Golconda Fort falls in Quila Mohammed Nagar village. We have GHMC ward maps available. We have to check whether the old village revenue maps are available..”

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, union culture minister Mukesh Sharma stated that none of the eight ASI monuments in Telangana figured in the encroached list.

INTACH convenor Anuradha Reddy told TOI,”There are illegal structures within 100 metresof Charminar.”

According to historian Mohammed Shaifullah, “Encroachments have been increasing at these monuments as there is no one to stop them.”

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