The enormous tourism potentials of the country’s heritage sites are yet to be effectively tapped, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Superintendent archaeologist K.K. Mohammed has said. Speaking at a function, on the topic ‘Conservation of heritage in India,’ organised by Vigil Human Rights in Kozhikode recently Mr. Mohammed said that the general awareness among the people and importance given to the protection and conservation of heritage monuments in the country had much to desire for while comparing to developed countries in the world.
Stating that India has 28 sites included in the World Heritage Sites identified by the UNESCO, the ace archaeologist of the country said that all the successive governments in India were equally lackadaisical when it came to the importance given to conservation of its heritage. “Countries such as China and Japan are far ahead of us with regards to protecting and marketing their heritage sites to world tourists,” he said.
The number of tourists visiting the Great Wall of China according to him crossed 11 million annually while the number of tourists visiting the heritage sites in India was only 30 lakh still. “This is despite the beauty and diversity of our heritage being richer,” said Mr. Mohammed.
Observing that the political leadership of the country needed a greater will and vision to protect the heritage sites and monuments of the country, Mr. Mohammed said that several acres of land at the centuries old Nalanda University site in Bihar were yet to be excavated for want of political will. “Only 80 acres of land at the erstwhile University site was excavated so far,” he said adding that a 100 more acres are to be excavated still. “But it asks for a greater vision and a political will,” said the archaeologist, who was in the news recently for having been appointed by the government to take the American president Barack Obama along the national heritage monuments of the country including Taj Mahal and Humayun’s tomb during Mr. Obama’s recent visit to India.
Mr. Mohammed, who hails from Koduvally in Kozhikode district, said that only an increased sense of heritage and history among the people as well as the authorities will help the nation to effectively protect its monumental records of the past for posterity.