The State Government has finalized five monuments under the Adopt a Monument scheme announced by the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in his Budget presentation earlier this year.
The five monuments – approved for the first phase of the project - have been pruned from a larger list of 30 for adoption and this includes Gagan Mahal at Anegundi in Koppal district, Tajbavadi (Bavi) at Vijayapura, Koppal Fort in Koppal district, Raja’s Tomb at Madikeri and Srirangapatana Fort at Srirangapatana in Mandya district.
A. Devaraju, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology Museums and Heritage, told The Hindu that the government has cleared the project including the terms and conditions apart from the guidelines for adoption for which the GO was issued recently.
However, he underlined that ‘adoption’ or ‘adopting’ a monument does not bestow ownership on the organisation selected for maintenance under the scheme.
“The corporate entity will provide basic amenities to enhance tourist or visitor experience and provide infrastructure without marring the physical and visual appeal of the monument. It is also ordained to take up conservation work where required. Every proposal will be scrutinized and vetted by the archaeologists of the department,” said Mr. Devaraju. The monuments listed for adoption under the scheme are under the State protected list and do not come under the ambit of the Archaeological Survey of India, he added.
Even with respect to conservation, the plans and the methodology should be in sync with the guidelines related to conservation of monuments and the State Archaeological Department will continuously monitor the works, he said.
The project will be jointly implemented by the Department of Archaeology Heritage and Museums and the Department of Tourism and the scheme will help develop a robust mechanism to provide basic amenities and facilities across the monuments in Karnataka, he added.
‘’We have 844 protected monuments and nearly 25,000 unprotected monuments in the State and it is an expensive affair to take up conservation of monuments like forts. Hence the scheme inviting proposals from private and public sector organisations will go a long way in off-setting the financial crunch, said Mr. Devaraju.
The organisation selected for adopting a monument would be known as Smaraka Mitras for providing basic tourist amenities and advanced amenities.
The advanced amenities include facilitation of night visits to heritage monuments under adaptive use, creating tourism facilitation centres with facilities like museums, souvenir shops promoting local art and craftsmanship, digital interactive kiosks and digital LED screening, sound and light show, battery-operated vehicles, etc.
The Centre had announced a similar scheme a few years ago but it ran into rough weather as it was interpreted to mean that the ownership of monuments were set to change which was not true.
Besides, Karnataka has already taken up conservation works under PPP model with matching funding under which Sri Dharmasthala Dharmothana Trust has taken up conservation of scores of monuments and other corporate bodies have also followed suit.
List of monuments for adoption by State Archaeological Department
The list of monuments that need conservation plus basic and advanced amenities includes: Srirangapatna Fort and Moat, Srirangapatna in Mandya district; Shiva temple, Theginnagatta, (Mandya); Sri Kasheshwara temple, Kashipura (Hassan); Govindeshwara and Nakeshwara temples, Koravangala (Hassan); Suralu palace, Pejamngoor (Udupi); Bahamani tombs, Holkonda (Kalaburagi); Fort, Devadurga (Raichur); Fort, Ramadurga (Raichur); Fort, Yadgir (Yadgir); Hill Fort, Yadgir (Yadgir); Tajbavadi, Vijayapura (Vijayapura); Srimantaghada Fort, Devihal (Gadag); Fort, Naragunda (Gadag); Parasagada Fort Savadatti (Belagavi); Bhuthanatha temple, Killatorgal (Belagavi)
The list of monuments requiring basic and advanced amenities includes: Fort and moat, Sira (Tumakuru); Rayagopura, Kalyani, Bhuvaneshwari Mantapa, Melkote (Mandya); Raja’s tomb, Madikeri (Kodagu); Nalakanad Palace, Yavakpadi village (Kodagu); Parvasu temple, Gundlupet (Chamarajanagar); Malkhed fort, Malkhed (Kalaburagi); Kumararamana Kumatadurga, Kumtadurga (Koppal); Anegundi fort, Gangavathi (Koppal); Gaganmahal, Anegundi (Koppal); Hampi monuments, Hampi (Vijanayanagar); Pre-historic and neolithic ash mound, Ballari (Ballari); Fort, Basavakalyana (Bidar); Yalluru Fort, Yalluru (Belagavi); Rani Channamma Palace, Fort and surroundings (Kittur) Belagavi.