Fearing damage to Charminar, ASI halts pipeline work at Laad Bazaar

Hyderabad: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Saturday stopped heavy pipeline work at the Laad Bazaar near the Charminar, that was undertaken by the water board. Over the last few days, the ground was dug up to lay a new pipeline, but it was found that the work was unauthorised.

An ASI official, who did not want to be quoted, told siasat.com that while an application was made seeking permission for the work by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB), it had not been given yet. The issue with any kind of civic work near the Charminar is that the monument can get damaged if care is not taken.

“They have not taken permission from ASI, and we stopped the work in the morning (Saturday). It is an old pipeline and they are not digging deep. They asked for permission also from the ASI, but they are not digging in deep. There should be clarity on what work is actually going on, and details must be provided,” the ASI officials explained.

Fearing damage to Charminar, ASI halts pipeline work at Laad Bazaar
The dug up road of the Laad Bazar near the Charminar. The HMWSSB has undertaken the work to replace the existing pipeline with a new one. Photo: Ronak Saraiya

It has been learnt that the HMWSSB took up the work to replace an older pipeline that was getting frequently blocked leading to flooding in the area. The sewerage line had been repaired a few months earlier on the south-western side of the monument due to water stagnation problem.

An earthmover-powered pneumatic drill was deployed to tear the cobblestone flooring and the six-inch reinforced concrete base in the Laad Bazar lane to reach the old pipeline buried five feet below ground. However, this is not the only time that such work is being undertaken.

Over a year ago, when the pipeline was laid earlier, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) then too raised an alarm over the proximity of the work to the Charminar, which is built of limestone-mortar. ASI officials then said that seepage from pipeline and capillary action of limestone would affect the long-term structural stability of the heritage structure.

History of the Charminar

Built about 430 years ago in 1591 by Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah, the Charminar is Hyderabad’s foundation. It was the first building constructed by the Qutb Shahi or Golconda dynasty’s (1518-1687) ruler to mark the new city, which was moved out of the Golconda fort. The fort until 1590-91 was a walled city, with a population of about 40,0000 then.

Old City experiences heavy rainfall and storms

The Qutb Shahi or the Golconda dynasty was founded in 1518 by Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, who hailed from Hamadan in Iran. He rose among ranks to become the governor of Tilang (Telangana) under the Bahamani empire (1347-1518), and later founded the Golconda empire. His grandson, Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah, eventually founded Hyderabad in 1591.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty came to an end in 1687 after Mughal emperor Aurangzeb waged an eight-month long successful war with the Golconda kingdom, finally bringing it under his territory.