Hyderabad: The city’s most iconic landmark, the 400-year-old Charminar, suffered a serious blow late on Wednesday night after a portion of the stucco work on its southwest minaret fell off. No casualties were reported since the monument was closed for the general public in the night.
The stucco fell off around 11.40 pm on Wednesday, according to eyewitnesses. Locals who were near the monument heard a loud thud and scampered to safety without realizing what was happening. People gathered around the monument once the picture got clear, even as police personnel from the Charminar police station cordoned off the area.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials have attributed the collapse to the age of the monument and partly blamed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for taking up works using heavy machinery around the monument.
A team of ASI officials visited the monument and inspected it. Senior officials from New Delhi are expected to visit the monument on Friday and decide on the future course of action.
ASI’s Superintending Archaeologist Milan Kumar Chauley said they would take up the restoration work after getting a nod from superior officers. He hoped the work would be taken up soon and not delayed as was the case when a similar incident involving the northeast minaret occurred.
The ASI had taken up conservation work on the minaret last year, giving it a tibara coating along with some minor repairs. Charminar legislator Mumtaz Ahmed Khan visited the monument in the evening and said he would write to the ASI to take up necessary repairs to the monument.
As a precautionary measure, ASI authorities are planning to build a mesh around the affected area.
On Thursday, several local people visited the monument to have a look at the damage and demanded that the authorities take up repairs immediately.
“We have sacrificed a lot to protect the monument. After the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project was implemented, we started taking long detours to reach our destinations,” said Swaroopa, a social activist from Uppuguda.