New Delhi, December 18
As many as 50 of the country’s 3,678 centrally protected monuments are nowhere to be found on the ground, with the Archaeological Survey of India attributing their loss to rapid urbanisation or difficulties in tracing the sites due to their remoteness.
The startling admission by the Ministry of Culture and the ASI is part of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Culture’s crucial report, “Issues relating to Untraceable Monuments and Protection of Monuments in India”, presented to Parliament this week.
Action after cag rap
- Following CAG rap, the ASI inspects 1,655 of the 3,678 centrally protected sites
- Parliament panel asks the ASI to conduct physical survey of all monuments
Lost to urbanisation
- The ASI says 24 monuments are completely untraceable, 14 have been lost to urbanisation and 12 have been submerged under dams or reservoirs
- Barakhamba Cemetery among the lost sites
Haryana: Kos Minar, Mujesar, Faridabad; Kos Minar,
Temple, Dwarahat, Almora
Delhi: Barakhamba Cemetery; Inchla Wali Gumti, Mubarakpur
R’sthan: Inscription in Fort, Tonk; 12th Century Temple, Baran
UP: Ruins of three small linga temple Ahugi, Mirzapur
The missing monuments include Barakhamba Cemetery in the heart of the Capital, two monuments in Haryana and the maximum (11) in Uttar Pradesh.
The committee in its report notes that the actual status of the monuments in question was determined only after the ASI conducted a physical inspection of 1,655 of the 3,678 centrally protected monuments following a rap by the Comptroller and Auditor General, which in its last report on the subject had noted that 92 monuments were missing.
The ASI, in a status report to the panel, said 42 of the 92 missing monuments flagged by the CAG had been located on the ground while 24 were completely untraceable, 14 were lost to rapid urbanisation and 12 had been submerged under dams or reservoirs.
Rapping the ASI for making an academic distinction for the monuments destroyed, the parliamentary committee directed the government to maintain digital log books containing textual, photographic and video record of the state of physical preservation of all the monuments and their exact location coordinates.
“The distinction made by the ministry regarding the monuments lost to urbanisation/reservoirs and 24 monuments which are untraceable is an academic one since monuments lost to urbanisation/reservoirs are as irrecoverable as the ones which are at present untraceable with scant hope of being found in future. Moreover, the fact that the ASI had been unable to prevent the loss of the 14 monuments to urbanisation and 12 to reservoirs/dams and only located them after the study by the CAG suggested that the ASI had no cognisance of these monuments prior to the study. The number of monuments lost from public viewing must therefore be held to be 50 taking into account those lost to urbanisation or reservoirs,” said the committee.
The panel also said it was perturbed to learn that Barakhamba Cemetery in the heart of the Capital was among the untraceable monuments.
“If even monuments in the Capital city cannot be maintained properly, it does not bode well for monuments in remote places in the country,” said the panel.
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