Errum Manzil Palace in Hyderabad, which may soon be demolished for the construction of a new Telangana Assembly, is structurally sound, according to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). A team from INTACH who inspected the structure urged authorities to conserve it.
A three-member team released an assessment report on the building's structural condition on Saturday, weeks after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's announcement that the state government would demolish the structure, which was built in 1870 by Nawab Fakhrul Mulk Bahadur.
INTACH convenor Anuradha Reddy, structural consultant S P Anchuri and architect and Assistant Professor from Aurora's Design Institute P Naga Praveen were part of the three-member team.
"The existing Errum Manzil building is found to be structurally sound in sub structure and in super structure. The team found that the building does have substantial architectural and historical value, being a legacy building constructed with load bearing walls in stone for foundation, red burnt bricks and stone for walls, and lime mortar as joining material. It is to be noted that the exterior and interior masonry is considered an important heritage character defining element," the team said in its report.
"The present condition of the building is a mere result of negligence, modifications which were undertaken before repairs and strengthening of building with improper sequence of execution using incompatible construction method and materials. It requires minor attention in some places due to improper repair and maintanance, which lead to deterioration of the structural and non-structural elements in few places," the report added.
Stating that the heritage features of the structure are worthy of retention, the team recommended that the state government adopt a proposal to reuse the building to ensure that it is not demolished.
"The team is of the opinion that the Errum Manzil building is an important heritage asset, and can be structurally sound after rehabilitation, repairs and partial reconstruction undertaken after proper in-depth analysis," the report stated.
It also recommended that this restoration exercise be executed under the supervision of heritage conservation experts, experienced architects and structural engineers.
The matter is also being heard in the Telangana High Court after two petitions were filed in the matter.
Nawab Shafath Ali Khan, the Secretary of the Nawab Fakhrul Mulk Legal Heirs Association, also shot off a letter to KCR. "Errum Manzil is a historical monument wherein top British dignitaries including the Viceroy of India had visited the palace. It is also submitted that this beautiful structure is very much part of Hyderabad's history, culture and heritage," the letter by the association said, demanding that the structure be saved from demolition.
A petition started on Change.org to 'Save Errum Manzil' has also garnered close to 10,000 signatures.
Built in 1870, the Errum Manzil palace was surrendered during Independence to the newly-formed Indian government. For many decades, it had served as the Public Works Department office of united Andhra Pradesh and is a prominent landmark in Hyderabad.