Heritage enthusiasts disappointed

While the creation of new administrative circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Tiruchi has warmed the cockles of the historians and conservationists, heritage enthusiasts from Perambalur district are a disappointed lot as their district has now been brought under the Chennai Circle.

With the bifurcation of the Chennai Circle, Tiruchi has got 162 monuments and sites in about 20 districts under its jurisdiction. Most of the important monuments in the State are under Tiruchi Circle. Perambalur district, despite being just about 50 km away from Tiruchi, has been brought under the Chennai Circle.

“It was a great pleasure to see the formation of a new circle in Tiruchi. But it is shocking that Perambalur has been annexed to the Chennai Circle,” observed Ramesh Karuppaiah, a heritage enthusiast of the district. The famous Ranjankudi Fort in the Perambalur district is maintained by ASI, he pointed.

“We were hoping that the creation of the Tiruchi Circle will lead to the improvement of Ranjankudi Fort, Valikandapuram Shiva Temple, Samskan Mosque and Karai in the Perambalur area,” he said.

Pointing out that Perambalur district and Ariyalur district were once part of the integrated Tiruchi district, Mr.Karuppaiah contended that just as Ariyalur, Perambalur too should be retained under the Tiruchi Circle of the ASI. “We will be happy if our plea is considered and a change is made,” he added.

Activists also point out that Ranjankudi Fort, a 17th-century fortress located about 22 km north of Perambalur, could be developed as a picnic or tourist spot. The ASI, a few years ago, had executed some development works at the fort. The State Tourism Department is also said to be looking at improving amenities at the site and they were expecting a further push to tap the tourism potential of the area with the creation of the new circle.

A senior ASI official said that Perambalur district may have been included under Chennai Circle to maintain a healthy ratio of the number of protected monuments/sites under each circle. However, it was a policy decision taken by the ASI headquarters and any decision of change in jurisdictional areas could be taken only in New Delhi, he added.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:01:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/heritage/article32910831.ece

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