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Heritage sites in Gujarat not preserved properly: CAG

Saturday, 26 July 2014 - 10:23pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found deficiencies in the preservation of ancient and protected monuments in Gujarat, which comes under the jurisdiction of state Archaeology Department. "There were deficiencies found in the manner in which preservation of monuments was being carried out," the CAG report, which was tabled on Friday in Gujarat assembly, said. The survey, excavation and research work was almost negligible, it said.

"There were no long-term plans for conservation of monuments. Projects taken up for conservation of monuments were not completed resulting in funds remaining unutilised," it said. Gujarat has 361 state-protected monuments and 18 museums, which are respectively preserved by Department of Archaeology (DOA) and Department of Museums. "State government had not prepared any long term plan for survey, excavation, research and development of important sites though there were more than 550 Indus Valley sites of the ancient Harappan culture," the CAG report said.

The Department of Archaeology has spent only 35 per cent of the funds granted by the Centre and the state government. As against the budget provision of Rs 14 crore during 2006-10 for the 49 monuments, expenditure of Rs 4.94 crore had been utilised and the remaining amount of Rs 9.06 crore has been surrendered. "As against Rs five crore provided (2006-10) to the Department of Museum, only Rs 1.97 crore (39 per cent) had been spent and remaining amount of Rs 3.03 crore was found to have lapsed," the report said.

It added that no planning was done to complete three museum projects by the Department of Museum, which resulted in delayed execution and non-completion (September 2013). The report observed that monuments in the state were in a dilapidated condition and hazardous in terms of public safety, including Chhinchiya Gate in Patan district which was declared heritage in 1989. 

Apart from that, some heritage step-wells (Vav) were either buried or encroached, it said. Vori Vav in Kheda district was found completely buried, while another one at Kathwada area of Ahmedabad was encroached upon by private temple trust.

"Two groups of Budhhist caves, including Shail Buddhist caves in Rajkot district and Shail caves in Kutch district were not explored and excavated," the report said. The CAG report observed that the site in Kutch has not been taken up for excavation and the stupa is further getting damaged as revealed by a Department of Archaeology publication. The report also stated that the two important sites near Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) Sun Temple, Vav and Havamahal was only partly excavated and no action plan was prepared to undertake its further excavation and development by Department of Archaeology. "The museums in the state has shortage of space that leads to a situation, where most of the antiquities are dumped in the store than to display them for the public," the report further said

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