National Mission on Monuments? Declare Rama Setu as monument, implement Madras HC order.

National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities formed; Govt. to set up National heritage sites commission

This announcement by Ministry of Culture is significant since the case for protection of Rama Setu comes up for hearing in the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 16 January 2008.

Till such time as the constituted National Mission and the proposed National Heritage Sites Commission deliberate on the  demand for declaration of Rama Setu as a world heritage and a monument of national importance, the temporary stay granted not to touch Rama Setu should be made ABSOLUTE.Else, the proposal will be seen only as a diversionary tactic to get the stay vacated for political purposes for the UPA to stay in the sattaa for some more time by satisfying its vociferous allies participating in the Government or lending outside support.

It will be a travesty of justice if the demands of crores of Hindus are ignored which will be a grievous hurt on their sentiments, apart from the channel project itself being a project disaster putting the coastline of the nation at risk without protection against another devastating tsunami which is coming (according to Nature magazine report of Sept. 6, 2007).

Courts have to respect the imperative of sustainable development,  maintaining a balance between conservation and development.

This is possible by promoting alternative economic projects to benefit the marine people through Marine Economic Zones, pipelines to move oil and gas products from west to east coast, railway lines and highways linking Colombo and Madurai, Tuthukudi and Chennai through a coastal railway,  Jaffna and Nagapattinam through a railway link and promoting eco- and heritage-tourism.

MEZ has the potential to generate Rs. 10,000 crores of foreign exchange through marine products marketing in Tamil Nadu coastline alone; for the country’s marine people, the potential foreign exchange generation per annum could be Rs. 40,000 crores since the fish landings have increased five-fold during the last 40 years and the opening up of the exclusive economic zone of 200 kms. from the coastline in the  Indian Ocean will mean new livelihood opportunities for the marine people.

The MEZs will have to provide for more fishing harbours, increased use of the Pamban gap for linking Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay/Palk Strait for medium-sized fishing and naval crafts, creation of additional fishing harbours, provision of improved fishing vessels for extended fishing missions. This will be abhyudayam of phenomenal proportions dwarfing the uncertain Rs. 200 crores per annum earning through the Setu channel project.

Such mid-ocean channel passage does not exist anywhere in the world. Suez and Panama canals are land-based canals with protective works and locks to ensure that the international obligations of ensuring habitat integrity of aquatic flora and fauna.  

No such provision exists in the Setu channel project. There is not even provision for tsunami walls to prevent devastation of the coastline properties and lives of marine people from future tsunamis. Why can’t India do what Japan has done for protection against recurrent tsunamis?

Kalyanaraman

The central government plans to set up a national heritage sites commission to frame guidelines for conserving heritage monuments and sites.

From correspondents in Delhi, India, 31 Dec 2007 7:02 PM – (www.indiaenews.com)

The central government plans to set up a national heritage sites commission to frame guidelines for conserving heritage monuments and sites.Speaking at the 33rd meeting of the central advisory board of Archaeology, Culture Minister Ambika Soni said her ministry has proposed constitution of the commission to the cabinet.Legislation on setting up the commission is under preparation and it will be sent to the cabinet soon for approval.The commission would frame broad policy guidelines and also take steps to ensure that they are observed.Observing that encroachment was a ‘major problem’ in maintaining and improving the ambience of the monuments, Soni said the government is providing alternative commercial hubs to encroachers for necessary livelihood so that the exterior ambience of monuments remains presentable.She said alternative commercial hubs have already been provided at Mahabalipuram, Agra and Bodh Gaya.Noting that vandalism against monuments and law and order situation in the areas where monuments are situated are major concerns, she said steps should be taken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects the historical monuments in the country, and the concerned state governments to work together to ensure that cultural heritage of the country is well-preserved and visitor friendly.She said the country is at risk of losing a number of archaeological sites due to rapid urbanization and developmental work.With this in view, she said they have decided to create within five years a national register to built heritage and antiquities of India. ‘A National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities has been constituted for this purpose,’ she added.The mission will document the monuments and antiquities spread across India and prepare data both at the regional as well as national level so that both public and scholars could assess it.Soni said the year 2007 saw an impressive growth of tourism sector in the country.‘As per estimates the final figure of foreign tourist arrivals in the country is likely to touch five million with a foreign exchange earning of over $10 billion,’ she said.‘We have to strive hard to keep pace with growing tourism and try to maintain a balance between conservation and development without destruction,’ she added.(© IANS)http://www.indiaenews.com/politics/20071231/88988.htm  Ministry of Culture Press Release 31 Dec. 2007 

CULTURE MINISTRY PROPOSES CONSTITUTION OF NATIONAL HERITAGE SITE COMMISSION


 The Culture and Tourism Minister Smt. Ambika Soni has said that the Government is providing alternative commercial hubs to encroachers for necessary livelihood so that the exterior ambience of monuments remains presentable. Addressing the 33rd meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Archaeology here today she said already alternative commercial hubs have been provided at Mahabalipuram, Agra and Bodhgaya. She said encroachment is a major problem the Government is facing in maintaining and improving the ambience of the monuments. Vandalisation against monuments, law & order situation in the areas where monuments are situated are major concerns for the Government and efforts are needed to be made by the ASI, the state and the local Governments to work together to ensure that cultural heritage of the country is well-preserved and visitor friendly.Smt. Soni said the country is at risk of loosing a number of archaeological sites due to rapid urbanization and developmental work. The Government has therefore decided to create within five years a national register to built heritage and antiquities of India. A National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities has been constituted for this purpose. She said the aim of the mission is to document the monuments and antiquities spread across India and to have a GIS based data based both at the regional as well as national level which can be accessed by the common public and scholars alike. She said her ministry has proposed constitution of National Heritage Site Commission to the Cabinet recently for the identification of heritage structures. She said the Government has also encouraged the participation of the corporate sector in the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage through the National Cultural Fund. Contributions to this fund are 100% tax free, she added.Smt. Ambika Soni said the year 2007 saw an impressive growth of tourism sector in the country and as per estimates the final figure of foreign tourist arrivals in the country is likely to touch 5 million with a foreign exchange earning of over 10 billion US dollars. She said we have to strive hard to keep pace with growing tourism and try to maintain a balance between conservation and development without destruction.

The Union Culture Secretary Sh. Abhijit Sengupta in his address said the ASI has recently signed a MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to collaborate in the application of sciences in archaeology. This MoU has enabled ASI to depute its officers to undergo training in selected fields like , “Plane Surveying and GPS”, “Geographical Information System (GIS)” and “Archaeo-materials”. He said this venture will built the capacity of ASI Archaeologists as well as facilitate core research in many areas of archaeology.

The Director General of ASI Smt. Anshu Vaish said her organization has under its protection 366 monuments and sites which are administered through 24 circles spread throughout India. She said ASI also generates revenue through ticketing of the centrally protected monuments and during the financial year 2006-07 it has contributed a sum of Rs. 63.04 crores to the Government exchequer, which almost a 9% increase over the previous year.

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=34297

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