Trench works pose another challenge to Charminar

GHMC goes ahead with digging work metres away from 430-year-old monument

Four trenches: two to carry waste water, and two to carry cables, are being laid just 60 metres from Charminar.

“The work has been going on for the past 10 days. We will not dig beyond that point (paved stone surface),” informed a Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation staffer supervising an earthmover using pneumatic drill to tear the 8-inch concrete slab for the channels on the Laad Bazaar road to the west of Charminar. The layer of cobblestone laid two years back was torn apart in February. Workers laying a Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board pipeline said the work is challenging. “Under the layer of concrete are assorted cables, pipelines and channels laid over the past 100 years. It is difficult to know which cable is important and which is no longer in use,” said a worker fixing a water pipeline.

Exactly three years earlier, the GHMC had used pneumatic drills to dig upto 6-feet around Charminar to lay a .9 metre sewage pipeline about 20 feet from the monument. A concrete flooring overlaid with cobblestones was part of the multi-crore Charminar Pedestrianisation Project.

The Archaeological Survey of India made representations to the GHMC using the Ancient Monuments Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR) provisions. But the civic body managed to go ahead with its work. The new trench work is another challenge to the 430-year-old monument that is built using limestone mortar. While limestone mortar cured over a number of years is exceptionally strong, continuous exposure to water renders it brittle, say archaeologists. The work being carried out during COVID-19 lockdown has not affected traders who sell bangles and host of other goods but once the daytime business hours are restored it will be chaos. “We have sustained huge losses due to zero business over the past year. This lockdown and the trench work has stopped many visitors from shopping here. This may go on for two more months,” said Wasim Akram, who owns a bangle showroom in the area.

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