Hyderabad: If the Telangana state tourism department is to be believed, the city’s Golconda Fort has already been awarded the World Heritage Tag! Befuddled? So were those who recently chanced upon a signage – not too far from the protected heritage site – that proudly announced that the Fort, a ‘World Heritage Site’ was only two kilometres away.
Incidentally, while the site is part of a comprehensive dossier including three Qutub Shahi monuments — the Charminar, Seven Tombs and the Fort – that’s being considered by Unesco for the coveted World Heritage Tag, the international organization is yet to pronounce its judgment. So how did state authorities then decide to put up the board? That clearly continues to be a mystery. The name of the fort also being missplelt is another story.
“This is sheer callousness on the part of the government. How can it declare a monument as a world heritage site, without it being ratified by Unesco? There is set protocol that every nation and state has to follow to attain such a tag. The board is very misleading,” said Omim Manekshaw Debara, a heritage activist, echoing the sentiment of many like him.
In fact, even government offices in the know of things expressed surprise over the development. “The city monuments haven’t won the tag yet. We will speak to the tourism department about the board,” said N R Visalatchy, director, state department of museums and archaeology.
While the Golconda Fort and Charminar are managed by the Archeological Survey of India, the third heritage site on the dossier – Qutub Shahi tombs – is under the supervision of the state department.
Tourism department officials, meanwhile, appeared to have been caught unawares about the faux pas. “We are going to seriously look into the matter, and take action against whoever is found guilty,” is all that a senior official of the tourism department, could say while reacting to the situation.
For several years now, Hyderabad has been vying for a spot on the prestigious list of World Heritage Sites. Yet, despite repeated attempts it has failed to achieve its objective.
Heritage experts attribute this failure to the complete lack of interest and inclination on the part of successive governments and officials ‘custodians’ of the monuments to protect and preserve them.