“Where will I park them if I bring the jewels now? They are very precious and antique items. They require a suitable place with high security. Once the government's priorities are on track, I will take up the issue with the central government and see that the jewels are housed in Hyderabad,” Mr Rao told this newspaper. The 173 pieces of jewellery are currently under the custody of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the CM said that the state would take up the issue at an appropriate time.
Nizam's jewels next target: CM
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said that the Nizam's jewels would be a major tourist attraction of the state once they are brought back as they are famous worldwide.
“I will pursue with the Centre once priorities like 24-hour power supply, drinking water supply, two-bedroom housing scheme and others are on track,” he said.
Sources in the government said that a discussion had taken place a few months back regarding the jewels and a suitable place to house them. One such place is the banks of the Hussainsagar in the heart of the city.
“We did visualise a pearl shaped building on the banks of Hussainsagar to house the jewels. Of course, it needs the approval of the Central government, which is now the custodian of the jewels,” an official said. N. Chandrababu Naidu, as Chief Minister of undivided AP, had pursued the issue of the Nizam's jewellery with then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, to relocate them to Hyderabad. He had almost succeeded but his government fell.
The Centre had even sent a team to identify a suitable location for the jewels and the state government had showed the Salar Jung Museum, neighbouring Kela Mandi near Afzal Gunj, Health Museum in Public Gardens, Banjara Hills and a few other places. The Central government wanted not only a suitable place, but also one with high security to protect the jewellery. But the subsequent state government did not follow up on the matter.
The Nizam's jewels were a big hit with the public when they were displayed in New Delhi and Hyderabad. Superb and rare, the 173 precious jewellery items of exquisite workmanship cover a period ranging from the 18th century to the early 20th century. It is one of the largest and richest collections of jewels in India.
It remained in the custody of the “H.E.H. Nizam Jewellery Trust” and “H.E.H. Nizam Supplemental Jewellery Trust” formed by the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, in 1951-1952 to safeguard the ancestral wealth of the family. The trustees kept this treasure in the vaults of Hong Kong Bank.