Bangalore, India: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) approached Swarna Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India (SGI), for his expertise in assessing the threat to ancient archaeological sites in the nation and to protect them. The ASI is reportedly in an advanced stage of talks with the SGI for mapping and surveying the 3,600 archaeological sites across the length and breadth of the country.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, the SGI said the ASI had made a voluntary effort to get in touch with them for mapping the sites and surveying them. “We are in talks with the ASI who sought our help to survey these sites across the country. We expect it to be finalised in the coming months,” he added.
Meanwhile, ASI Director Dr Gautam Sengupta confirmed the developments. “The main reason for seeking the help of the SGI in mapping archaeological sites is to identify the extent of encroachments on the sites as per the amendment to Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010,” he said.
As per the amendment to the Act, no development project can be undertaken in the prohibited (100 metres) and regulated areas (200 metres) of the protected monuments and sites except as per permission that may be granted under the relevant provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (including the rules made thereunder), and Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.
According to the media reports, once the MoU is signed with the SGI, it is likely to take at least three years for the survey to be completed. As per the last known statistics, in 2010, it was declared in the Lok Sabha that as many as 249 important archaeological sites in the country had been encroached upon by various people, knowingly or unknowingly.
Source: Deccan Herald