Visakhapatnam: INTACH welcomes draft Bill on preservation, protection and maintenance of geo-heritage sites

January 11, 2023 11:31 pm | Updated 11:31 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM


Advisor to the Geo-Heritage Cell of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage)
and former professor of Geology, Andhra University, D. Rajasekhar Reddy explaining the formation of Erra Matti Dibbalu to geologists and members of INTACH in Visakhapatnam.

Advisor to the Geo-Heritage Cell of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) and former professor of Geology, Andhra University, D. Rajasekhar Reddy explaining the formation of Erra Matti Dibbalu to geologists and members of INTACH in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: File photo: V RAJU

For the first time since Independence, the Union government has prepared a draft Bill on the preservation, protection and maintenance of geo-heritage sites.

The Bill has been drafted by the Ministry of Mines and has been put on the public domain for the stakeholders to come up with suggestions and advice by January 14. People can respond through the email: diretech.mom@nic.in

Welcoming the draft Bill, adviser to the Geo-Heritage Cell of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) and former professor of Geology, Andhra University, D. Rajasekhar Reddy, said that India has been a party to the UNESCO convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, adopted on November 16, 1972 in Paris and it was ratified by India on November 14, 1977.

Though the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has adopted a resolution in 2015 that geo-diversity and geo-heritage sites are an integral part of natural diversity and are to be treated as inseparable from biodiversity and nature conversation, India till date does not have any specific and specialised policy or law to conserve and preserve the geo-heritage sites and geo-relics for the future generations, he said.

According to him, geo-heritage sites are sites of rare and unique geological sites that have rare geomorphological significance and we have listed about 180 such sites in India, with about 38 located in Andhra Pradesh and about a dozen in the districts of Visakhapatnam and Alluri Sitarama Raju.

Geo-relics are any relic or material of geological significance or interest like sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorites, or fossils. And in such instances Erramatti Dibbalu near Bheemunipatnam, Mangamaripeta arch and Borra Caves in ASR district qualify.

The draft Bill provides for the declaration, preservation, protection and maintenance of geo-heritage sites and GSI has been proposed to be a nodal agency.

“We welcome the Bill, but apart from GSI being the nodal agency, we suggest that other stakeholders such as the various departments of the State Government such as revenue and tourism, INTACH and other related organisations such as the water boards and institutions such as ONGC be roped in. A national geo-heritage authority should be constituted and it should function as an umbrella organisation such as the Coastal Management Authority,” Mr. Rajasekhar Reddy said.

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