Hyderabad: Nearly a year ago a piece of ornamental stucco work fell from one of the four minarets of Charminar. People panicked and raised an alarm. But the Archeological Survey of India took six months to put up scaffolding atop the second floor covering the south-eastern minaret facing Nizamia Unani Hospital. There has been no progress since.
It was raining heavily last year when the chunk of the plaster came off. The downpour has begun again drenching the grand old centre-piece of Hyderabad. The conservationists believe that exposure to rain without any repair would further damage the structure. But the ASI says it has no money and might not be able to do anything worthwhile till the rainy season ends in September.
ASI superintendent R Krishnaiah said according to the previous plan the repairing of minaret should have been completed by May. Since the Centre has not released the necessary funds there can’t be any progress. Also, no repair work can be taken up in the next three months due to vigorous monsoon.
The Department of Culture releases between Rs. 25 and 30 lakh per year for the repair and maintenance of the 420-year old Charminar. Though it gave Rs 40 lakh last year, most of the money was spent on putting up surveillance cameras around the monument.
The conservationists maintain that repairing the damaged minaret was not a major job. The stucco could have been replaced within two weeks had the ASI acted fast. “It shows the callous attitude of the ASI towards such a beautiful showpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture. They should take up repair works at least now. If not, the rains could cause more damage to the structure,” one of them said.
Krishnaiah said a similar kind of lime mortar mix that was used in the construction of Charminar would be prepared for repairing the minaret. The mix will be reinforced with jaggery, nut water, jute and white egg. The artisans from Thanjavur who have expertise in stucco would be used for the task.
Even as the ASI is working on the repair plans, the tourists visiting Charminar are complaining that the huge scaffolding is obstructing their view of the historic monument. TOI