Hyderabad: The city’s rocks continue to be at risk, despite several years of campaigns, heritage notifications and government laws.
Hyderabad, a city that has a landscape defined by rocks, huge boulders and rugged hills, is part of the Deccan Plateau and has some of the oldest granite rocks in the world, activists here said, adding that however, little was being done on the ground to protect these.
Intense urbanisation, they say, has seen these scenic rocky hillocks being replaced with high-rise buildings. Areas like Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills and Gachibowli are a testimony to this urbanisation that has affected the equilibrium in these areas, they point out.
“Rocks are not just lifeless structures kept there to destroy; they are a plethora of life forms. Intense urbanisation is a threat to all life on earth. It damages the environment,” said Gaurav Vartak, a senior environmentalist.
Geologists date some of the city’s rocks to 2,500 million years back. Some of these, classified as monuments of historical importance, are being taken care of by the government. However, the adjoining areas have been subjected to activities, including quarrying, thus polluting and degrading the rock formations here.
In all, 25 different rocks and rock formations in and around the city are now protected under the heritage tag, according to Society to Save Rocks, an NGO with around 300 artists, photographers and environmentalists under its umbrella.
“We try to educate people and impress upon the authorities that one need not destroy rocks for development but can live with them,” said Society secretary Frauke Quader, adding there was not even one rock structure or a hillock in the city that was not under threat.
“Despite the city achieving the status of being the only place where rocks are protected by law, we see the privatisation of beautiful public rock spaces like Fakhruddingutta,” Quader says.
“These areas are all notified heritage rock precincts, identified and declared so by the government itself. We do not know how this has been allowed to happen,” she added. “It’s time our authorities realise that we can develop in such a way that we respect and retain our unique landscapes,” Vartak said.