‘What steps were taken for Golconda fort?’

High Court regrets lack of initiative by State, Central governments to preserve the historic structure

Expressing dissatisfaction over the response of the State and the Central governments in preservation of Golconda fort and Qutub Shahi tombs, Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed them to file detailed reports on the matter within two weeks.

The HC also instructed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Director General and the Telangana Tourism Principal Secretary to appear before it during the next hearing. The directions were passed by a bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy. The HC had taken up a newspaper article on the inadequate funds for preservation of Golconda fort which got damaged during rains in September in 2020 as a PIL petition. The bench last year had issued notices to the Central and State governments on the matter and sought to know their respective action plans to protect the historical and world famous Golconda fort.

When the PIL petition came up for hearing on Tuesday, the bench headed by CJ Hima Kohli expressed concern over the preservation of the fort and the tombs, observing that the authorities did not seem to have a specific action plan for the purpose. Lot of tourists, some from abroad, visit the fort and the tombs. But the inadequate lighting arrangements at these places indicated that officials had not taken care to provide basic facilities to the visitors.

In the nights, stray dogs were roaming in these areas. The bench sought to know from Assistant Solicitor General of India Namavarapu Rajeshwar Rao how the governments expected to attract tourists to the historical places in the backdrop of such poor conditions prevailing there. The bench noted that despite directions issued by it last year no respondent filed counter affidavit, barring the Golconda fort superintendent. Even the superintendent had stated that parts of the wall of the fort developed cracks due to incessant rains last year and wrote to the higher-ups seeking funds for restoration of the fort.

The bench instructed the Central and the State governments to file reports explaining what steps they were taking to protect the fort and the tombs and how many funds were allotted for the same. The plea was posted to April 15 for next hearing.


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