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Rajasthan: Illegal construction, encroachments stall World Heritage tag

In the report of UNESCO, encroachment inside the Walled City has been described as a major obstacle.

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Illegal constructions and rampant encroachments are becoming a major hurdle in declaring the Walled City area of the state capital as a World Heritage site. In the report of UNESCO, encroachment inside the Walled City has been described as a major obstacle. 

Now, the will to remove the illegal occupation of the Parkota and razing the illegal construction and removing encroachment is the only option left with the Jaipur Municipal Corporation and the state government to have the old city included in the list of World Heritage.

In 2015, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had submitted a proposal to the UNESCO demanding status of Jaipur city as World Heritage City. Since then the city has been placed in the tentative list. In the meantime, Ahmedabad bagged the tag becoming first world heritage city from India.

The ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), which is one of three formal advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee constituted by UNESCO,  had communicated to the ASI in September 2018 requesting an inspection to the walled city in order to scan it’s potential becoming a heritage site. 

On the recommendation of the ICOMOS any area was included in the list of world heritage due to its unique heritage. Only Ahmedabad city of India has been included in this list. A team of ICOMOS had come to Jaipur last year and visited the walled city area. This team had cross-checked the proposal documents of the state government by visiting the walled city. 

After investigating the documents of the government, the ICOMOS also called the Additional Chief Secretary and other officials in the Paris on November 23 to hold a meeting regarding the proposal. After all investigations, the ICOMOS has recently sent an interim report to the state government. 

Several questions regarding heritage conservation have been raised in this interim report. 

Deadline Issued

Several questions regarding heritage conservation have been raised in this interim report and the government has been asked to respond to the issues. The government has to answer by February 28. The most serious questions that have been raised in this report are linked to illegal constructions in the Parkota area (Walled City) of Jaipur.

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