Search is on for 24 ‘missing’ monuments of country via old records
The ministry has told the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture that with the help of old revenue records, maps these historical structures might be located in the future.
Published: 18th December 2022 10:20 AM | Last Updated: 18th December 2022 04:09 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Even after five years since it conceded that 24 centrally protected monuments are untraceable, the culture ministry has not given up hope. The ministry has told the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture that with the help of old revenue records, revenue maps and published reports, these historical structures might be located in the future.
However, the ‘dismayed’ panel recommended that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), the national watchdog of heritage sites under the ministry, undertake a survey of all the 3,693 centrally protected monuments to check their physical ‘existence’ and to ensure their adequate maintenance and protection.
In its 324th report titled-- Issues relating to Untraceable Monuments and Protection of Monuments in India---tabled in Rajya Sabha last week, the Committee stated that it is perturbed to note that having found out that at least 24 monuments are untraceable out of the sample of monuments studied, no further surveys were conducted for the remaining monuments, even nearly a decade after the original study.
“A physical survey of all the Centrally Protected Monuments must mandatorily be carried out by ASI from time to time as per a fixed time schedule. Digital log books may be maintained which may contain textual and photographic or video record of the state of physical preservation of the monument, exact location coordinates and clearly demarcated prohibited and regulated areas in the vicinity of the monument,” the panel recommended.
It further suggested that digital records might be made accessible to the general public to avoid any ambiguities.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its 2013 report on ‘Performance Audit of Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities’ reported that 92 monuments are ‘missing’. Subsequently, the ASI carried out a mega exercise to locate the reportedly untraceable monuments. The efforts bore fruits and many of them were ‘traced out’. The Survey found 42 sites physically existed and 14 were ‘affected’ due to rapid urbanisation. About 12 sites, it stated that they existed but were submerged under dams or water reservoirs but 24 heritage properties were ‘untraceable’.
In its response to the panel, the ministry stated that the exact location and condition of untraceable monuments could not be determined because of various factors such as rapid urbanisation, non-availability of proper details about their location in the gazette notification, remote areas and dense forests despite the strenuous efforts.
However, it added that the chances of tracing those monuments with the help of scientific tools and archival records cannot be ruled out. “Field explorations and periodic surveys are being conducted from time to time by the field offices of ASI and with the help of old revenue records, revenue maps and published reports, these monuments may also be traced out… exercise of removing these 24 untraceable monuments has not been initiated by the ASI as there are chances that some of these monuments can be traced out in near future,” the panel in its report noted.
The 24 untraceable heritage sites:
Guns of Emperor Sher Shah, Tinsukia
The Ruins of Copper Temple, Lohit
Kos Minar, Faridabad
Kos Minar, Kurukshetra
Kutumbari Temple, Almora
Bara Khamba Cemetery
Inchla Wali Gumti, Mubarakpur Kotla
Rock Inscription, Satna
Old European Tomb, Pune
Inscription in Nagar Fort, Tonk
12th Century Temple, Baran
Ruins of three small linga temple circle 1000 AD, Ahugi Mirzapur
Three sites with megaliths on the western and north eastern toes of the hill, Chandauli
Tablet on treasury building, Varanasi
Telia Nala Buddhist ruins, Varanasi
A Banyan grove containing traces of ancient building, Amavey, Ballia
Closed Cemetery, Katra Naka, Banda
Gunner Burkill's Tomb, Mehroni, Lalitpur
Three Tomb, Lucknow-Faizabad Road, Lucknow
Cemeteries at miles 6 and 7, Jahraila Road, Lucknow
Cemetery at Gaughat, Lucknow
Large ruined site called Sandi-Khera, Pali, Hardoi
Ruins of fort, Nadia