Union Ministry of Culture claims 47 monuments out of 92 termed missing in the CAG report have been traced by ASI

Even as a recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report slammed the Union Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for 92 missing monuments across the country, Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch has claimed that 47 of these 92 monuments cannot be treated as “missing or untraceable”.

In a written reply to a query about the “missing” monuments in Lok Sabha, Ms. Katoch said: “The ASI has made efforts to locate/identify the reportedly untraceable monuments through field offices based on old records, revenue maps and published reports. As per the information available, a number of such monuments cannot be treated as missing/untraceable.”

The audit that started in 2012, involved physically inspecting 1,655 monuments (out of the 3,678 monuments ASI protects) across the country to assess their present status. Seven major museums under the Ministry of Culture were also audited. According to CAG, the number of monuments found missing is 2.5 times higher than the number provided by the Ministry since 2006.

Some of the important monuments which were found “missing” even after the ASI survey are Bara Khamba Cemetery, Inchla Wali Gumti in village Mubarakpur, Kotla and Tomb with three domes near Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi; Kos Minars at Shahbad and Mujessar in Haryana; Old European Tomb in Pune; Temple Baran, Inscription Nagar Tonk in Rajasthan.

Bihar tops other States in the list of “missing” monuments with the CAG listing 11 heritage monuments/sites as missing or untraceable. Some of these are a banyan grove containing traces of ancient building at Amavey in Ballia and remains of ramparts and the mound commonly known as ‘Queen’s Palace’ in the old fort known as Killa at Bihar Sharif in Nalanda.

Uttar Pradesh comes a close second with nine monuments remaining untraceable. The Closed Cemetery, Katra Naka, Banda, Three Tombs on Lucknow-Faizabad Road, Imambara Amin-ud-daula in Lucknow, Gunner Burkill’s Tomb at Rangaon in Lalitpur and remains of a large temple at Ram Nagar in Chitrakoot are some of them.

Admitting that no funds were allocated in the last three years to revive the monuments, Ms. Katoch clarified that no fresh policy is required to revive and protect the monuments traced. “Once the missing monument/site is located, they will be protected as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958,” she said.

The CAG report has also hauled up the ASI for poor maintenance of heritage places, including national showpiece monuments like the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. It also pointed out to innumerable cases of encroachment and unauthorised construction inside heritage monuments.

The report found 131 antiquities have been stolen from monuments and ASI sites and 37 antiquities from site museums till 2012.

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