The Centre has reconstituted an advisory committee to chalk out a plan for studying the mythical Sarasvati river for the next two years, after the earlier panel’s term ended in 2019.
The Archaeological Survey of India on March 10 issued a notification for “reconstitution of the Advisory Committee for the Multidisciplinary Study of the River Sarasvati”. The ASI had first set up the committee on December 28, 2017 for a period of two years.
The committee would continue to be chaired by the Culture Minister and include officials from the Culture, Tourism, Water Resources, Environment and Forest, Housing and Urban Affairs Ministries; representatives of the Indian Space Research Organisation; officials from the governments of Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan; and an ASI official. Among the “non-official members” of the 27-member panel are archaeologists B.R. Mani, Vasant Shinde, K.N. Dixit and K.K. Muhammed, and historian Balmukund Pandey. The committee includes Madan Gopal Vyas, Ratnesh Tripathi, Prabhu Sundarji Bhai Thakkar, S. Kalyan Raman, Prashant Bhardwaj, Amit Rai Jain, V.M.K. Puri and Mukesh Garg.
One of the officials in the panel said the committee would review the work done by the previous panel and then formulate a plan. The committee would advise the Government Departments conducting research, the official said. A Culture Ministry official said the research on tracing the course of the Vedic river in present day Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat was “incomplete”.
According to the ASI’s 2017 notification, the committee was tasked with defining the Sarasvati river and its basin, identifying “special items of geotechnical nature for study of the Sarasvati basin and to suggest names of competent agencies/individuals” and identifying “archaeological sites and areas for multidisciplinary research and to assess their potential for development as centres of education and tourism”.