HYDERABAD: Locals have raised an alarm over extensive digging operations going on near the Qutb Shahi Tombs as part of the construction of a new interpretation centre on the Deccan Park side of the tomb complex. However, Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) CEO Ratish Nanda assuaged the locals’ fears by clarifying that the pits were far away from the monument.
Pits nearly 20-feet-deep have been dug in the Deccan Park area of the Qutb Shahi Park complex and earthmovers have been deployed at the site.
At a stone's throw from the pits is the tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah, the seventh king in the Qutb Shahi dynasty, the work on which started in the beginning of the year and was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A heritage activist, Mohammed Habeebuddin, said, "The heavy machinery can be damaging to the tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah, which is located nearby. Heavy equipment machinery work should not be taken up within a 100 m radius of archaeological structures."
He also raised an issue over the interpretation centre, which he said was not respectable to the sentiment of a 'place which is technically a graveyard'.
Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) CEO Ratish Nanda told Express that the pits were at least 100m from the tomb and clarified that they will not have any impact on the monuments. "Care has been taken to place the structure (interpretation centre) along the access road to both Golconda and Qutb Shahi tombs — located within the Deccan Park, and not within the tomb complex," Nanda said.
He added, "In order to ensure that a modern building does not affect the visual integrity of the Qutb Shahi Tombs, the structure is buried below ground level. This is very similar to a site museum we are presently building for the Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site in Delhi."
The interpreation centre will house a permanent exhibition, a film screening room and a room for architectural models and visitor facilities. The construction cost has been pegged at Rs 45 crore. The structure was slated to be completed within a year, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The interpretation centre will serve visitors to both Golconda Fort and to Qutb Shahi tombs, significantly enhancing the visitors’ experience by informing them through exhibitions, films and architectural models, the history and architecture of these great sites,” he added.