The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is planning to prepare site management plans for world heritage monuments in Tamil Nadu on the lines of the one adopted in Hampi, Karnataka, according to G. Maheshwari, ASI Superintending Archaeologist.
She told The Hindu on Sunday that a site management plan was essential for the conservation of world heritage monuments, lest they become endangered with growing urbanisation.
Initially, ASI would prepare the site management plan for Mamallapuram monuments and Big Temple at Thanjavur, both of which are world heritage monuments.
Stakeholders would be involved in the preparation as well as implementation of the plan. As a prelude to the preparation, a stakeholders’ meeting would be held. Local people, HR and CE Department officials, district authorities and local body officials, youth and media representatives would be invited to discuss the dos and don’ts prescribed by the UNESCO to protect monuments.
Zones such as core zone, buffer zone and peripheral zones had been formed around monuments to prevent certain activities that could damage the monument.
“But, ASI is certainly not against development or human welfare activities. These should be regulated in such a way that they don’t endanger the monuments,” Ms. Maheshwari said.
She cited the example of Hampi in Karnataka where a proposal by the local authorities to build a bridge across the sprawling monument area was stalled. In its place, a road was laid along the monument without disturbing the heritage site. The Hampi Development Authority had been formed to implement the site management plan.
“There is a misconception that ASI will isolate the monument from people in the name of conservation. This is not true. The Big temple at Thanjavur is one example where people are allowed to conduct pujas. At the same time, we maintain the temple,” Ms. Maheshwari said.
There are 29 heritage sites in Tamil Nadu, out of which 23 are cultural sites and the rest natural sites, she said.