Will take legal route if Telangana govt tries to dismantle OGH: INTACH

 INTACH has countered a move by Telangana government to dismantle Hyderabad's Osmania General Hospital, saying the iconic building is "structurally safe" and that it would take "legal recourse" if there are any attempts to raze the over 90-year-old historic structure.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 09, 2015, 16:36 PM IST

New Delhi: INTACH has countered a move by Telangana government to dismantle Hyderabad's Osmania General Hospital, saying the iconic building is "structurally safe" and that it would take "legal recourse" if there are any attempts to raze the over 90-year-old historic structure.

"Our Hyderabad Chapter has already conducted a survey of the building and found it structurally safe.

"And, we therefore will first try convincing the state government to give up the idea of dismantling the hospital, an architectural icon no less, but if they still try to tear it down, we will take a legal route to save it," INTACH Chairman Maj Gen (retd) L K Gupta told PTI here.

Built in early 1920s, Osmania General Hospital (OGH) sits handsomely on the bank of Musi River with complementing Osmanian architectural buildings on the other bank, adding to the iconic skyline of Hyderabad.

The three-storeyed hospital, a listed heritage building, was constructed during the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad.

It was built by British architect?Vincent Jerome Esch, who also designed several other buildings in that city.

The Telanagana government seeks to replace the old hospital with two multi-storeyed structures, and the move has hurt heritage lovers in the city and beyond, while the opposition parties like Congress, MIM and others have said they would resist any attempts of demolition.

"We will make 10-15 storey hospital and it will be able to cater 10 times the number of patients it does now. It will have the same name (OGH)," Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali said earlier this month.

Delhi-headquartered Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a non-profit NGO, with its 180 chapters spread across the country, has spearheaded conservation and restoration of tangible heritage for over 30 years since its inception.

Chairman Gupta says that "PILs have saved a few heritage structures from the wrecking ball. The most famous case perhaps being of Bangalore's Attara Kacheri (Karnataka High Court), now still standing proudly with its majestic architecture.

"The red-coloured Attara Kacheri built in the late 1860s by the British as a Mysore government office was ordered to be demolished in the early 1980s by the Karanataka High Court, which had moved into it after independence.

"But, it was peoples love for a city heritage and their perseverance that ultimately saved the building and the High Court later even praised the petitioners," Gupta said.

This was a landmark judgement in 1980s, because not only it was the first PIL in the Court, but also because the case was heard in the very same building that was proposed to be demolished.

And, today the red-brick structure sitting pretty in Cubbon Park, alongside two other red-hued complementing structures, is also a tourist attraction in Bangalore.