Hyderabad: Destruction of rocks at Khajaguda continues under HMDA’s nose

Hyderabad: The Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple trust (which is near the Khajaguda rocks) started the construction of a borewell in the wee hours of the night, resulting in more destruction at the Khajaguda heritage rock site.. While the Narsingi police stopped the illegal drilling, it brings to light the fact that the heritage site’s security has been compromised.

Confirming the drilling, the chairman of the temple trust, Satyanarayana said that the setting up of the bore was essential as there wasn’t water available for the temple or the gau-shaala (cow shelter) nearby. “The previous bore was damaged four or five times owing to the demolition of rocks. So we decided to install a new one about 150 metres from the temple. Without water, the cows and the temple would suffer,” he told Siasat.com. .

The drilling comes just about a week after heritage and environment activists protested against the illegal demolition of rocks at Khajaguda. The Telangana high court in 2019 decreed the 180 acres to be a protected heritage site and made the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) the custodian of the rocks.

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HMDA clueless about demolition:

Adding to the chaos, when C Ritwik Reddy, a member of Save Khajaguda Rocks, went to meet an officer from the HMDA, he expressed surprise at the demolition.

“The officer in question informed me that he had put a stop to the demolition and was unsure as to how it continued. I had to show him a video of the demolition from today morning to prove the same. We are currently unsure if the demolition is being carried out by HMDA or by some other vested groups,” said Ritwik.

As things stand, the Rocks continue to suffer with HMDA turning a blind eye and temple authorities abusing their power.

What are Khajaguda Rocks?

Fakhruddin Gutta, popularly known as Khajaguda Hills, is a protected heritage site immensely loved and visited by trekkers, rock climbers, walkers, and others. However, for more than a decade, the place has been witnessing drilling and destruction for the purpose of ‘development’, which is now being met with resistance from activists and various citizen groups.

The site with rocks dating to several million years is located in Nanakramguda and is just a 20-minute drive from the Amazon Hyderabad campus and the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Gachibowli,. It provides a green lung space amidst the hectic, concrete-filled IT corridor. It is also the location of the Hyderabad Climbing Championship that is gaining recognition across the country.

A Twitter page @savekhajaguda run by activists has led the charge against the drilling by putting out an SOS call on the platform and the official Twitter handles of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, MA&UD Minister KT Rama Rao, and GHMC Commissioner were tagged along with the post.

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