Telangana deputy chief minister Mahmood Ali cause a stir on Sunday after remarking that the historic "Charminar" would be razed if it became dilapidated. Ali made the remarks while defending his government's decision to rebuild the 90-year-old Osmania General Hospital (OGH) in Hyderabad.
The Opposition has been against the move to reconstruct OGH, saying they will not allow demolition of the heritage structure.
"We will make 10-15 storey hospital...and it will be able to cater 10 times the number of patients it does now. It will have the same name (OGH).... When a building becomes weak, if Charminar becomes weak, in 200 years, 400 years or 500 years, it will have to be razed too. If a building becomes weak, it can fall any time and claim many lives," Ali said on Sunday.
Clarifying his remarks, the deputy chief minister said on Monday that he only made a general reference to 'Charminar' to present his argument for rebuilding OGH which is in poor shape.
Charminar is a 16 Century monument located in old Hyderabad and a major landmark and tourist destination."Charminar is our 'pehchan' (identity). We will strive to strengthen it. I was speaking in a general sense that after 1,000 years (we have to think about it)," he clarified.
Noting that mostly poor patients come to the OGH for treatment, he said the government wanted to act in the best interests of the people and accused the opposition of doing politics over the issue.
Highlighting the fact that the OGH is a heritage structure however, the main opposition Congress, MIM and other parties are opposed to its demolition.
Telangana Congress working president Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao and other party leaders, who visited the OGH on Sunday, said the hospital was built by the then Nizam rulers for the benefit of poor patients.
Observing that they would resist attempts to demolish the structure, Vikramarka said that the previous Congress government (in undivided AP) had given Rs 100 crore for modernising the hospital.
There is 10 acres of land beside the hospital and the government can raise buildings there, he said.