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Lack of cooperation by authorities affecting Bihar heritage sites: ASI

ASI has not been able to bring under its "complete care" at least 20 heritage sites in Bihar as authorities concerned are yet to clear encroachments and unauthorized constructions, an official said

Mahabodhi temple, Bodh Gaya, UNESCO World Heritage site, Bihar

Mahabodhi temple, Bodh Gaya - UNESCO World Heritage site

Press Trust of India Patna
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not been able to bring under its "complete care" at least 20 heritage sites in Bihar as authorities concerned are yet to clear encroachments and unauthorized constructions in and around these places, an official said.
Goutami Bhattacharya, the superintending archaeologist of ASI (Patna circle), said that district authorities, despite reminders, "have not taken requisite measures" to facilitate the upkeep and maintenance of these centrally protected sites, including the ancestral home of the country's first president, Dr Rajendra Prasad.
"We have filed several police complaints pertaining to illegal constructions in the restricted areas surrounding the protected monuments, but no action was taken.
"This apathy on the part of the district administrations in removing encroachments and unauthorized constructions has come in the way of bringing these sites under the complete care of the ASI," she told PTI.
Bhattacharya also said that she recently wrote to the district magistrate (DM) of Siwan to apprise him of the fact that work to upgrade Dr Rajendra Prasad's home at Jiradei had to be put on hold after a group of local people objected to the project.
"Despite bringing the matter to the notice of the local police, the ASI site in-charge could not resume work there," she wrote in the letter, a copy of which was shared with PTI.
Banerjee maintained that a boundary wall should be constructed around the protected site at the earliest, failing which the house may have to endure more damage.
"We simply want some sensitivity and cooperation from local authorities as we try to protect, preserve and maintain these sites," she said.
Reacting to the allegation, Amit Kumar Pandey, the district magistrate of Siwan, told PTI that instructions have been issued to officials concerned and the ASI can recommence work at Jiradei without further hindrances.
The ASI superintending archaeologist also noted that the agency was dealing with problems of encroachment in the area surrounding a rock inscription of Mauryan emperor Asoka at Chandan Hill (also called Ashik Pahari), 3 km south of Sasaram town.
"We have written several letters since 2012 to the district magistrate (DM) of Rohtas seeking removal of encroachments at the site. The last letter I wrote to the DM in this regard was on January 12, 2022, but nothing has changed so far," she lamented.
Despite repeated attempts, the Rohtas DM could not be reached for a comment.
Other sites that are "facing neglect" due to the "lackadaisical attitude" of district authorities include Buddhist Stupa at Kesaria in East Champaran, remains of an ancient fort, locally known as Raja Bali ka Garh, at Balirajgarh in Madhubani, and three rock inscriptions adjacent to Tara Chandi Temple in Rohtas, added Bhattacharya.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 24 2022 | 3:36 PM IST

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