Forget the hype about Hyderabad, Jaipur is way ahead in the race for Unesco’s prized World Heritage City status. The reason: The uninspiring claim that Hyderabad is making for itself.
A World Heritage City gets a well-funded and comprehensive conservation process going, besides getting hordes of international tourists and aid.
It is a status that cities round the world fight to acquire. Conservationists say that Hyderabad, older than Jaipur by 136 years, stands a greater chance because of its history, varied architecture and culture. The roots of civilisation in Hyderabad could be traced with evidence to at least 2,000 years.
It would be terribly unfortunate, they say, if the case of Hyderabad is lost by default. The State government started off in November last year, forming a seven-member committee with Vasant Kumar Bawa, noted historian, conservationist and administrator, as chairman. Three months later, the government appointed young conservation architect Vasantha Sobha to assist Bawa in preparing the report.
The committee had to submit the report in July but nothing happened. Then, on August 13, Bawa was informed by Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Chandana Khan, a committee member, that the State Tourism Promotion Board had asked Special Officer, Planning, Huda, S P Shourie, who is also on the committee, to prepare the report. Bawa said it was not the job of a single person and it required the work of a team.
Last week, however, Shourie submitted his report to Chandana Khan. It is be sent to the Department of Culture, HRD Ministry, after the approval of the Chief Minister for forwarding to Unesco.
But Bawa said he was not aware of any report. “I have not been consulted,” he said. According to conservationists who have had a sneak look at the report, Shourie, an expert in matters of conservation and urban planning, has not been properly guided on making the report effective.
It has been prepared on the “tentative list” format of Unesco that is irrelevant in this case. The report lacks embellishments like data, photographs, graphics that have been sought by Unesco.
Unesco extended the deadline for submitting claims to February 1. With this advantage, the conservationists say, the government should get the Shourie report reviewed by the committee.
This article was published in Deccan Chronicle website http://www.deccan.com