Makkah masjid is dying! Does anyone in Hyderabad cares??

entrance-hall-masjid-hyderabadHYDERABAD: It is imposing. It is historic. And it is decaying. Mecca Masjid, one of the oldest mosques, in the city paints a picture of the current and previous governments’ questionable attitude towards the city’s heritage structures.
It also exhibits an apathy of the Minorities Welfare Department through which funds for its preservation and maintenance are routed.
Sample this: chunks of plaster at the linear canopy on the east of the mosque complex, under which intricately carved graves of rulers from the Asaf Jahi dynasty and their relatives are buried, collapsed on Monday. But what is worse is that there was no immediate intervention from the authorities. As a result another chunk of plaster fell off on Tuesday. The debris was quickly removed. “Despite the second chunk falling off, there was no official inspection. A lot of people congregate under the canopy for Friday prayers. It is a miracle that there were no injuries today,” a mosque official who did not wish to be identified said.
The masjid has been promised a makeover several times in the past few years. But so far, less than a fraction of the promised funds, which now run into crores of rupees, has been released. The recent one being Rs 10 crore promised by deputy chief minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali.

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The funds have not seen the light of day, officials claimed. “In the past, the Congress government kept saying that it would release upwards of Rs 1 crore. This was said every other year. This money too has not yet come. We are afraid that the promised Rs 10 crore will meet the same fate,” said the official. Other officials who did not wish to be identified said that the security infrastructure at the masjid, which was a victim of bombing in 2007, is outdated and is in urgent need of an upgrade.
As it turns out, out of 23 cameras which were installed in 2008, only three are working. It was more than two months ago that the MWD was asked to make estimates for installing new CCTV cameras. However, no new camera has been installed yet. Salaries of as many as 19 home guards have not been paid for almost three months.
“It was two years ago that guards refused to man their posts after they were not given salaries. Is the government waiting for an untoward incident to happen?” an employee questioned. Salaries of mosque staff running into around Rs 3.5 lakh per month too remains unreleased.
While calls to MWD secretary Syed Omer Jaleel went unanswered, Mecca Masjid superintendent M A Qadeer Siddiqui said, “We are doing everything to get salaries released. I have spoken to the district minorities welfare officer who said that the matter is being looked into. The salaries will be given shortly.”
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Indicating that the government has the preservation of heritage structures at the bottom of its agenda, it was on Monday that a chunk of plaster at the historic Mecca Masjid complex peeled away on account of continued negligence.
The chunk of plaster came off at the linear canopy which cover the final resting places of 14 members of the Asaf Jahi dynasty within the sprawling four acre heritage precinct.
Masjid officials who did not wish to be identified said that the canopy has been in bad shape for many years. The canopy, they added, is in need of immediate repairs.

 “Water logging is the primary reason for the canopy plaster to come off. We had informed previous governments that repairs are required here several times but apart from inadequate measures nothing concrete has been done,” said an official who did not wish to be identified.

It was in Ramzan that the Telangana government promised Rs 10 crore for overall repair and maintenance of the historic masjid. However, more than a month after the announcement, the funds have not been released.

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The Minorities Welfare Department has been entrusted with releasing funds for maintenance and salaries of staff. It was in the month of Ramzan that secretary Syed Omer Jaleel, after engaging conservation architect Sarat Chandra, inspected the mosque and announced that repairs would begin soon. However, apart from preparing a plans, little has changed on the ground.

According to Mohammed Safiullah from the Deccan Heritage Trust, the canopy was built by the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. Under the canopy are graves of the second Nizam, Nizam Ali Khan, to the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan. The canopy was built in 1934 and the other graves are those of other members of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty including Sarabat Jah who was the son of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan,” Safiullah said.

The article First appeared in TOI
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