Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Special force to guard heritage sites in Telangana

Hyderabad: The recent daring theft at the Nizam’s Museum, here, has prodded authorities into action, with the State Department of Heritage now seeking a special police unit for protection of heritage structures and archaeological sites in Telangana.

The department wants the State government to constitute a new force on the lines of the Special Protection Force to guard the rich heritage of the State.

Senior officials of the department have suggested that the new wing could be crafted from the Telangana State Special Police. “The aim is to ensure security of artifacts and monuments of historic importance. Time and again, there are instances of miscreants taking away artifacts or antiques dating back to centuries from unguarded places. So a dedicated professional force is the need of the hour,” a senior official said.

A proposal to this effect was placed at a recent meeting of Chief Secretary SK Joshi, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar and Heritage Department Director NR Visalatchy.

There are several museums across the State where several antiques dating back to several centuries are housed. The places are guarded by private security guards or contract employees. The recent theft at the Nizam’s Museum in Purani Haveli should be an eye opener, officials feel.

The security force will be constituted after the proposal is cleared by government departments concerned and once the security apparatus is in place, the department feels there will be little scope for theft or damage to its properties.

The Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department at a meeting held recently had also decided to form a Telangana State Heritage Authority (TSHA) which will function under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. Also, the Greater Hyderabad Heritage Committee (GHHC) and the district heritage committees are to be revived.

It was also decided to have a Heritage Fund option as it would enable channelise funds from private individuals. “Foreign donations could also be accepted after necessary formalities are cleared for the purpose,” the official added.

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