news Monday, July 27, 2015 - 05:30
  It was a palatial structure that was meant for the regular Hyderabadis. From 1921, the domes of the Osmania General Hospital have added to Hyderabad's charms, a  building standing on 26.5 acre land on the banks of river Musi. But the Telangana government's decision to delist and demolish the IP block of the hospital, has set in panic, especially amongst those fighting for landmark structures and historic buildings.   The hospital was conceived after the Musi flood of 1908 with architect Vincent Jerome Esch, drawing up the blueprints. It was built at a cost of Rs 20 lakh at that time.    There are 11 major blocks housing the hospital out of which eight blocks have been deemed unfit for usage at present.   Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had earlier called for high rises and claimed that the government is ready to spend any amount of money for development of the hospital. He also added that two towers, 24 floors each, would be constructed in its place.   Though there has been not much opposition to the government's plan to move out patients from the old hospital building, the government's plan to raze down the structure has met with stiff criticism. Historians and heritage experts who have come out in the open, with a call to save the building.    TNM spoke to a few of them, and this is what they had to say   Anuradha Reddy, Co-convenor, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach)   Take up a proper conservative study of the old Osmania General Hospital (OGH) building instead of demolishing it.    After a preliminary inspection, our team has found that there is no evidence to show that the structure is in a precarious condition. The damage is on account of poor maintenance and untimely upkeep of the monument.    A thorough study should be carried out by a special committee which comprises of conservation architects and structural engineers with experience in conservation and only then should a conclusion be arrived at.    Omim Maneckshaw Debara, General Secretary, Forum For A Better Hyderabad   We are not ready to swallow up everything that the government says about the hospital crumbling and the structure collapsing. There are many structures around the world that are more than a 100 years old and have been restored to their old grandeur.    There are buildings in Bombay itself that have been beautifully restored and still in use.  The government's plan of demolishing and destroying heritage buildings and replace them with skyscrapers, shows that the state does not have a will to restore it.   From the Banjara Bhavan to Ravindra Bharati, the government cannot just de-list and demolish structures that are on the Heritage Conservation Committe's (HCC) list.   If they are really demolishing the Osmania Gandhi Hospital building out of concern for the hospital and its doctors and patients, there is a land right next to the hospital that they can use.   Mohammed Safiullah, Heritage expert   The building is a fairly stable structure and there is no need for us to demolish it. In fact, we can abandon the structure for a at least five more years and nothing will happen to it.   A piece of plaster falling off the roof isn't a sign that the building needs to be demolished. It is a sign that it needs to be restored and renovated, so history can be preserved.    The Telangana government should lap up the Shadan Education Society's offer to provide an alternative space to shift Osmania General Hospital at at Aziz Nagar in Ranga Reddy district.   William Dalrymple, writer and historian   The idea of demolishing the OGH is insane. It's one of India's greatest buildings from the period and anywhere else, would be the focus of a huge conservation effort. Sadly Hyderabad has the worst record in India for destruction of it's heritage: a combination of government stupidity, philistinism,  greed and corruption by the real estate and building lobby.   They are even planning to build a Metro through the Residency building that the World Monument's Fund just raised millions of dollars to  restore. In the US, everyone is talking this year about the wonders of the Deccan following the massive success of the Met Deccan show.   This should be the moment to massively invest in creating a Deccan tourist trail on the scale of Goa or Rajasthan- it could bring a fortune to the region. Look what's happening in China- massive investment in museums and heritage. Instead the idiotic politicians of Hyderabad want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.   Once they've done so, it can never be brought back. The people of Hyderabad should rise up as one and demand that their politicians start protecting their city rather than accepting sordid backhanders from real estate developers.   Only Hyderabad politicians cd be sufficiently insane (or corrupted by real estate lobby) to destroy this #SaveOGH pic.twitter.com/VTdiSOxlFN — William Dalrymple (@DalrympleWill) July 26, 2015 #OsmaniaGeneralHospital oldest hospital in #India built 1919 by a #Muslim,Osman Ali Khan,Nizam of #Hyderabad.#SaveOGH pic.twitter.com/jdOwJmb1UZ — Arshiya Khan (@Khangupshup) July 26, 2015 Really sad to see the mindless surge to demolish the historic Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad. #saveOGH pic.twitter.com/tznGHXmhlT — Abdul Bari (@Strider2310) July 24, 2015      

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