Why is the ASI building a toilet in the heart of Golconda Fort, ask activists

There is digging work currently underway near the topmost structure in the fort – around 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft – reportedly for a toilet.
Why is the ASI building a toilet in the heart of Golconda Fort, ask activists
Why is the ASI building a toilet in the heart of Golconda Fort, ask activists
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Inside Golconda Fort – near its topmost structure, the Bala Hisar Baradari – the Archeological Survey of India is digging a pit in an area of 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft. Why? According to reports, the ASI has granted permission for the construction of a toilet in the area, and activists and archeology enthusiasts say this is a terrible plan.

The digging work has been taken up close to the Bala Hisar Baradari, which is considered to have once been a durbar hall. A group of activists visited Golconda on Sunday to see if the reports of the digging are true. “We wanted to ascertain first hand, if the excavation and structure coming up next to the Bala Hisar was permissible and necessary,” Mohd Safiullah, city-based historian, told TNM.

Speaking to TNM, activist Lubna Sarwath who was also part of the group that visited the spot, said, “We went right up to the top and examined the digging. It is a gross violation done by the ASI, which is supposed to be the implementer of the Ancient Monument Preservation Act.”

“The digging is right at the pinnacle of the fort and officials say that they have done so to construct a toilet. There are already many toilets at the fort for the public. They should maintain them and focus on their upkeep instead of absurdly conceiving of a toilet right in the heart of a protected monument. On one side there is so much decay of the structure and they are negligent about that, and instead they are focusing on something else like this,” she added.

Lubna also said that she has sought a copy of the permission letter that was granted for the project from the ASI.

While the Hyderabad Circle of the ASI has maintained relative silence on the issue, TNM has learnt that the orders for the project came from the body’s central office in New Delhi and the regional office didn't have a say in the decision.

“We took photos and examined the spot. If we find that it is not necessary, then we will hold talks on how to stop it and even file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) if needed,” Safiullah said.

“I entered the pit and also found a layer of garbage inside, which is a cause for concern,” he added.

The Golconda Fort was recently ‘adopted’ by GMR Sports Private Limited, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the government and the private company.

The Union Ministry of Tourism last year, said that its ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme was a collaborative effort between the Ministry, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), states and union territories which aims to lease out contracts to conglomerates, who will focus on providing basic amenities for both domestic and foreign tourists and ensure ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens to various heritage sites across the country.

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