By LE Desk

Hyderabad, April 16: Observing that the response of State and Central governments over preservation of Golconda fort was “lackadaisical”, the High Court on Thursday instructed them to immediately form a joint committee of officials to chalk out a comprehensive plan for preservation, restoration and development of the fort.

State government’s Secretary for Youth Advancement, Tourism and Culture Development would head the committee and convene a meeting with all other members to chalk out blue print for the development of the fort, Qutubshahi tombs and 27 other historical monuments in the fort’s vicinity.

A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy passed these instructions, expressing displeasure over the response of the State and Central governments to the order it had passed during the previous hearing, The Hindu reported.

When Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) of India Namavarapu Rajeshwar Rao informed the court that the Centre had filed its affidavit on April 12, the Chief Justice asked him how did he expect the HC Registry to upload it since the next day was Ugadi. While ASG tried to explain contents of the affidavit, the Chief Justice told him that it becomes irrelevant when the affidavit was filed late giving little or no time for the Registry to upload it for the bench’s perusal.

Mr. Rao said the Centre had already identified some works for the development of the fort which are likely to be completed. In that case, execution of the whole development plan would take a decade, the CJ remarked. The bench asked the ASG and Special Government Pleader Harender Pershad appearing for the State if both the governments had some joint action plan or wished to take “stand alone” actions.

Mr. Rao told the bench that he had found lot of illegal constructions had sprung up in the vicinity of the fort during his recent visit. He said that the Centre had lodged 153 complaints about such unauthorised structures since 2003 to the State government but no action was taken. Turning to the SGP, the CJ said “your colleague is praising you sky high” and sought what plans the State government had to check illegal structures there.

The bench said the committee should have State Archaeology Deputy Director, Superintendent Archaeologist of Archaeological Survey of India, GHMC Commissioner, Road and Buildings Chief Engineer, Head of Department of Architecture of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and a member of Aga Khan Trust as its members. The committee should meet on April 22 to chalk out a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the fort and all historical monuments located within its radius.

The blueprint should focus on removal of unauthorised structures, shifting of animals roaming around and illumination of the area. The first meeting should be followed by subsequent meetings to discuss matters connected to the issues.

“The report should come before a week of next hearing. We will make sure there will be coercive action if the directions are not followed,” the bench said.

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