Preservation of heritage structures govt’s priority: Arvind Kumar

MA& UD Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar, who initiated a campaign, now has the historic MJ Market completely restored and set to be open for public on August 15

By   |  Published: 14th Aug 2020  12:08 amUpdated: 13th Aug 2020  11:50 pm
Moazzam Jahi Market in Hyderabad is illuminated as the refurbished structure is all set to be thrown open for the public on August 15. — Photo: Anand Dharmana

Hyderabad: Despite being among Hyderabad’s prominent heritage structures, the MJ Market was falling apart, courtesy the neglect it faced over decades. That was when the structure caught the eye of Municipal Administration and Urban Development Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar, who then initiated a campaign, which now has the structure completely restored and all set to be thrown open for the public on August 15.

Arvind Kumar shares with Telangana Today about the mammoth efforts that went into the campaign that is now being carried on to the Moula Ali shrine and step wells across the State.

Q. What sort of restoration was done to the MJ Market structure?

A: It was a complete overhaul. From civil work to shifting of power cables and installation of the towering flag pole, a lot of restoration work has been done. To mention a few, all leakages were arrested, the jack arch and ceiling was repaired. The ceiling and jack arch at the fish and meat market blocks were reconstructed, peripheral footpath with railing around the market was done and high tension and low tension power lines were shifted. And more importantly, architectural lighting was arranged.

Q. How did the restoration take up?

A: Since it was an old and historic structure, preservation and restoration was a challenge. Accordingly, services of agencies specialising in heritage conservation, heritage conservation architects and engineering firms dealing with heritage conservation were roped in. While Laxmi Hericon Private Limited executed the works, Meena Bazaar Extension was the lighting consultant for the project.

Q. How much did the works cost, and what are the new facilities?

A: The total cost of the project is about Rs 15 crore. The iron bars had completely rusted and were in near collapse state and needed to be replaced. Likewise, all the tiles of the roof required replacement as the existing ones had worn out over the decades and become porous and therefore the entire building was leaking.

Another important component was laying a new underground storm water and sewerage drain. Earlier, the structure lacked such system and after setting up the system, there is no water logging. Then, architectural lighting is arranged covering the entire market.

Encroachments were removed and the main carriageway is reclaimed and restored after decades. All the works carried out are sturdy and will last another lifetime.

Q. What is next?

A: MA& UD Minister KT Rama Rao wants protection, restoration and preservation of heritage structures, and the exercise should continue is what we have learnt from the MJ Market experience. The Minister wants restoration of stepwells (bowlis) taken up in a phased manner.
Hyderabad has about 60 such stepwells and we plan to take up restoration of about 10 important stepwells in the first phase. The Minister has also suggested that the Moula Ali shrine be restored. We are in touch with Wakf Board on this.

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