Charminar may not get UNESCO World Heritage Tag

Officials from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had made tall claims in July that restoration of Charminar would be complete before the Unesco delegation comes for inspection on September 26. Two months later, the Charminar and its precinct still cut a sorry picture with precious little being done to make it at least appear presentable to the delegation. Officials from the ASI admitted that layers of lichen and moss still persisted and that the planned chemical cleaning of the structure would happen only after the visit of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (Icomos). Clearly, the purpose is lost.

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Lack of coordination

Charminar Hyderabad IndiaLack of coordination between ASI, GHMC and traffic police is said to be the reason for delay. Officials at ASI said that the Icomos delegates were 'unhappy with the environs of monuments' and pointed out necessary work which needed to be undertaken. An official requesting anonymity said, "On account of heavy vehicular traffic it will take more than a month to set up scaffolding for the chemical cleaning. The delay is due to the fact that the scaffolding will cover a large portion of the road."

Though the chilla and the Bhagyalakshmi temple authorities have agreed to move water tanks from the premises for the visit, heritage activists noted that this was not a permanent solution. R Krishnaiah, superintending archeologist, ASI said, "Temple authorities have agreed to move water tanks from Charminar for the visit and have asked us to provide an alternative. Further, there are a lot of flags of religious significance at both structures. The matter is delicate and needs to be dealt carefully."

According to Krishnaiah, the committee had suggested changes in signage, fencing and removal of cables. "Painting of the fence has been done along with cleaning of the old fountain. The signage will take around ten days to be installed and cables will be removed shortly. We still need cooperation from GHMC and government authorities. Perhaps this is the last chance to make it to the list," he said while maintaining that the Charminar was in a 'good state of preservation.'

Charminar India
Charminar Hyderabad India

Heritage activists rued that the Charminar complex was incomplete without the inclusion of the four kamaans, all of which are in deplorable condition and that the Sahr-e-Baatil kamaan to the west of Gulzar Houz was crumbling. "The roads are clogged as a result of Charminar Pedestrianisation Project. The bollards and unevenly divided roads are compounding the damage. There is very little hope that Charminar would make it to the final list," said an activist.

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