Save Osmania Hospital – Protect Heritage and Health

Media reports indicate the Government of Telangana is moving to demolish the iconic Osmania General Hospital (OGH) which is one of the oldest hospitals in India located in Hyderabad. The Health Minister Etala Rajender has been quoted in  Times of India report, July 23, “The government will raze the building and raise new towers.” Patients in the old building have been moved out and activities are underway to seal the entire building.

OUR APPEAL TO THE TELANGANA GOVT :

PROTECT HERITAGE AND HEALTH AND SPARE THE DEMOLITION OF THE HERITAGE BUILDING OF OSMANIA GENERAL HOSPITAL

Please sign our petition and join the campaign to save the Osmania Hospital heritage structure from being razed.

We urge the Telangana government to build a new hospital behind the heritage structure for Hyderabad’s much needed healthcare infrastructure. Health and heritage must go hand in hand. Preserve the 1 acre old building  but utilise the remaining 25 acre campus by removing all the non-heritage structures to build a world class hospital for the citizens of Hyderabad.

OGH was built during the time of the last Nizam, H.E.H Osman Ali Khan. The Hospital is a 155+ year old institution. It is located on 26.5 acres of land on the banks of River Musi. The hospital building was completed in 1925 and was designed by British architect Vincent Jerome Esch. It is a fine example of Osmanian style or Indo Saracenic genre of architecture and is an integral part of Hyderabad’s riverscape and skyline. The structure is graded a II-B Heritage Building in Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Association (HMDA) Listing and is protected under the Heritage Regulations of HMDA. The last Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) had cleared the proposal of the government for construction of a new block behind the heritage building.  This came with a rider that the heritage structure be restored and construction be done under supervision of a conservation architect and periodic reporting to the HCC. Apart from being an architectural marvel of Hyderabad, OGH is renowned for its immense contributions to society as a premier medical facility of the city.

Health infrastructure and heritage can go hand in hand and Osmania General Hospital must be restored and not demolished. New buildings can be constructed in the ample area to boost the health infrastructure whilst maintaining  the beauty of an iconic building that showcases Hyderabad’s immense heritage.

In 2015, INTACH conducted a structural, stability and safety study and presented a comprehensive report when the hospital was under threat of demolition. Experts summarized that the Conservation of IP block – the Heritage Building should be restored based on Heritage Conservation principles. To relieve the load on the structure it should be used for running OP clinics, administrative and support services when fully restored. The survey was conducted after a storm of protests against the government’s decision to demolish it.

INTACH concluded that OGH Heritage Building is structurally safe and can be made safe for another century, barring any natural and human interventions, if properly maintained after repairs, restoration and retrofitting.

”There is place for modernity and development but antiquity is invaluable – destroying antiquities, history and heritage is like hitting out at generations of your own family.” – a quote from a concerned citizen of Hyderabad

What the people of Telangana want:

The government should not demolish the old heritage building but take steps to restore it along with its landscaping.
The government must take urgent steps to ensure the building is not further damaged. Now that the building is sealed, the government should stop any entry into the building
Involve the public – conduct public information campaigns to enable communication with the community and concerned citizens. There should be public consultation.
Please sign the petition to help preserve  the history of Hyderabad.

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