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Heritage site list eludes govt

The engineer-in-chief of the building construction department has not received a list of heritage sites in the districts even after waiting for a year.

After sending five missives to the executive engineers concerned, the engineer-in-chief finally served showcause notices on the errant engineers, seeking reasons why departmental proceedings should not be initiated against them for ignoring departmental orders over the past year. A few executive engineers sent the list after getting the showcause.

“It was in November last year that we received a request from the state art, culture and youth affairs department to furnish a list of museums and historical monuments in around 25 districts. Accordingly, I had issued the first letter in this regard to executive engineers of our department on November 11, 2012, seeking the requisite list of buildings along with their digital photographs,” building construction department engineer-in-chief Rajendra Prasad Chaudhary told The Telegraph on Friday.

“On not receiving replies from any engineer over a year, I issued showcause letters to all of them on November 11, seeking an explanation for ignoring a department order for so long,” he said.

The situation is so bad, the building construction officials could not list a single historical monument in Nalanda, the state’s “heritage capital” and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s home turf.

“No historical monuments could be identified in Nalanda district in the first phase of our survey. However, we are getting the report verified through another survey. A possible reason no historical monument was found is Archaeological Survey of India has already identified most such places in Nalanda as protected archaeological sites,” said Varun Kumar Singh, executive engineer, building construction department, Nalanda.

Sources in the art, culture and youth affairs department said the archaeological directorate has, till date, officially identified 34 monuments across the state as archaeological sites. For a monument to be considered one it should be over 100 years old.

In a missive dated September 23, the chief engineer wrote: “It is extremely unfortunate and regretful that the required report has not been furnished even after 10 months. Writing letters over and over again, not only leads to loss of revenue but also causes wastage of important time and manpower.”

Even if there are no monuments in their area, they should have stated so, said Chaudhary. Few executive engineers claimed the report has been furnished. “Though I joined Muzaffarpur in July, I believe the list has been sent from here, as bidding for resurfacing work at Muzaffarpur civil court building was recently started,” said Niwas Singh, executive engineer, building construction department, Muzaffarpur.