The decision of Government of Telangana to delete Regulation 13 of the HUDA (Hyderabad Urban Development Authority) Zoning Regulations (through G.O. Ms. No. 542) could have long terms implications on historical precincts in Hyderabad. Through the Government Order, notified structures and precincts that are worth conserving will be losing their legal cover. There is also a contradiction! On one hand, the Telangana Government wants Hyderabad city to be recognised as a World Heritage City by UNESCO and on the other hand deletes the provision concerning heritage and conservation.
The Advocate General’s observation that there is no substantive provision dealing with the heritage or historical precincts and conservation thereof in the A.P. Act 1/1975 is ill conceived.
It is an effort just to safeguard the intentions of Telangana Government to demolish certain heritage buildings by bringing out some legal lacuna in the said Act. It is true that there is no provision for such protective measures in the name of Heritage committee in the Act.
But there is one Section 39 which provides a provision to constitute an Art commission called “The Andhra Pradesh Urban Art Commission” which can discharge the same duties as of Heritage Committee.
Section 39 (2) says: It shall be the duty of the Art commission to make recommendations to the Government about restoration and conservation of urban design and of the environment, planning and development of future urban design and of the environment, restoration and conservation of archaeological and historical sites and the development areas or sites of high scenic beauty. Further Section 39 (3) states that the powers to be exercised and the functions to be performed and the procedures to be followed by the Art Commission should be prescribed by the State Government. If the Telangana Government wants to dismantle heritage buildings such as Osmania General Hospital, Erragadda Chest Hospital etc, by taking shelter under the ‘legal cover’, it is nothing but erroneous. If it really intends to protect the historical sites and heritage buildings, they must be protected by invoking the Section 39 of Andhra Pradesh Act 1/1975 and immediately appoint a Telangana Urban Art Commission. The authorities from municipal administration should be reminded that under the same Regulation 13, (presently deleted) the heritage buildings were protected and preserved since decades.