regular-article-logo Wednesday, 06 December 2023

Parliament panel asks about '50 missing monuments', recommended urgent survey by ASI

The report by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture was presented to the Rajya Sabha and tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday

PTI Published 21.09.23, 11:45 PM
Representational Image.

Representational Image. File Photo

A Parliamentary panel has asked about the "50 missing centrally-protected monuments" and recommended an "urgent survey" of all remaining monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India to ensure their physical existence.

The report by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture was presented to the Rajya Sabha and tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.


In the report, the Committee has noted that the CAG had declared 92 centrally-protected monuments as "missing". The ASI has located 42 of these monuments. The remaining 50 monuments are either affected by rapid urbanisation, submerged under reservoirs or dams, or are untraceable.

The Committee, in the action taken report, said it "desires to know about the fate of 50 missing centrally-protected monuments" and recommends the ministry to direct the ASI to initiate an "urgent survey of CPMs in light of the lack of physical security and missing of monuments instead of making it 'as and when' matter based on the inputs of ASI field officers".

The committee observed that monuments once lost cannot ever be retrieved. The centrally-protected monuments (CPMs) are a "vital piece of our historical heritage", the report said. The ASI should, therefore, give the "highest priority" to ensuring the physical security of all CPMs across the country, the report added.

The Committee recommended that the Culture Ministry conduct a survey of all monuments to ensure their physical existence.

The ministry informed the panel that "taking up survey or exploration to identify and document antiquarian remains, monuments of ancient sites is a continuous phenomenon taken up by ASI through its field offices".

The Committee had earlier also desired to be apprised of the projected date and cost of completion of the project 'Art work in new Parliament Building', according to the action taken report.

"As far as the projected date of completion of the project 'Art work in new Parliament Building' is concerned, the first phase of the art work in the new Parliament Building has been completed successfully by the IGNCA", and the new Parliament building was recently inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

The IGNCA has committed to ensure optimal utilisation of funds during the financial year 2023-24, the Ministry of Culture informed the panel.

The ministry also informed the Committee that it has received a request from Aranmula Heritage Trust to include the cultural heritage of Aranmula in the national list of ICH (intangible cultural heritage).

Accordingly, the ministry has directed SNA (Sangeet Natak Akademi), the nodal agency for promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO, to consider the Aranmula Mirror making in the national inventory, so as to make it eligible for possible future inscription in UNESCO ICH, the ministry informed the panel.

It is a unique metal mirror made in Aranmula, a quaint temple town in the heart of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. Kannadi in Malayalam means mirror and with its origins at Aranmula, it gets the name “Aranmula Kannadi”.

Made by the finest craftsman for generations, the magical potion of making it from an alloy of tin and copper still remains a secret confined to the family handed down only to their descendants, according to Kerala Tourism website. The "Three Hundred Fifty Seventh Report on 'Development of Niche Tourism (including Spiritual Tourism), Theme-based Tourist Circuits and Potential Tourist Spots'" by the panel was also presented to the Rajya Sabha and laid on the table of the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The Committee in this report has said that it is "at a loss to note that the 2022 list of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) featuring the 32 best tourism villages from 22 countries, does not contain a single village from India while several countries have two villages in the list, and Spain having even three villages" The Committee desires to be informed about the number of Indian villages which were nominated for the selection by the UNWTO. The Committee notes that Khonoma in Nagaland has been selected for the “Upgrade” programme which would enable the village to receive the necessary support from the UNWTO to improve its conditions to meet the selection criteria.

The Committee wishes to know the efforts being taken for the development of Khonoma after its inclusion in the upgrade list of the UNWTO. The Committee also desires to know as to how many Indian villages have so far been selected by the UNWTO in its best tourism villages list and the impact of such selection on the village tourism, it added.

On wedding tourism, the Committee has recommended that "apart from development of infrastructure and facilities to support the growth of wedding tourism, the (Tourism) Ministry may also facilitate easy and uniform process of registration of marriages in every state of India even for couples belonging to other states".

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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