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New commission to bolster heritage conservation

A Correpondent in Delhi | January 29, 2009 18:00 IST

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An admission of the Archeological Survey of India's failure to conserve and maintain the heritage sites in the country is reflected in the Union Cabinet's decision on Thursday to set up a new National Commission for Heritage Sites by bringing a legislation in Parliament's session next month.

The commission will take care of all the heritage sites unlike only the notified archeological sites being taken care by the ASI or the state archeology departments. An official said there are large numbers of heritage sites that are currently not on the ASI list.

The legislation will empower it to issue directions to owners and controllers of the heritage sites for their conservation and maintenance, and to ensure compliance of such directions.

The legislation will also provide a framework for meeting international obligations under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Heritage Conservation, to which India is a signatory since 1977.

The tasks to be assigned to the commission are:

  • Formulation of short and long term policies of conservation,¬†protection and management of heritage sites
  • Laying down standards and guidelines
  • Establishment of a heritage sites roster
  • Recommendation to the central government for nomination of heritage sites for inscription on UNESCO World Heritage list.

The eight-member commission will have members with expertise in the fields of archaeology, history, architecture, ecology, conservation, sociology, anthropology, science and technology and environmental sciences.

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