It is a fundamental duty as per the Article 51A (f) of Indian constitution i.e. to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
Also it is an integral part of state and union list:
Ancient and historical monuments and records, and archaeological sites and remains, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.
Libraries, museums and other similar institutions controlled or financed by the State; ancient and historical monuments and records other than those declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.
Ministry of Culture has suggested amendments to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010 which will give legal powers to Central government pertaining to any modifications and new construction in protected heritage sites.
What is cultural heritage?
Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage.
Cultural Heritage can be distinguished in:
Built Environment (Buildings, Townscapes, Archaeological remains)
Natural Environment (Rural landscapes, Coasts and shorelines, Agricultural heritage)
Artefacts (Books & Documents, Objects, Pictures)
Significance of heritage:
Conflicts arising from legalizing the amendment:
If the 2016 bill is cleared by Parliament, such construction could happen in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of national importance and as we know historic structures and archaeological remains are most susceptible to heavy vibrations, chemical effects or mechanical stresses in this zone. It will degrade the environment and these sites remain prone to damage.
Giving legal powers to the Central government with respect to new construction in protected sites will suppress existing bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monuments’ Authority (NMA) Proposals in the note, there are some proposals that seem to be unviable:
Conclusion: Conservation of heritage should be seen as a priority to human need and development and therefore should be kept aloof undamaged. A survey and proper analysis of the sites is very important as the cultural heritage cannot be reconstructed once it is damaged, government as well as citizens should take the responsibility of safeguarding these exclusive heritage with rich history. Simply using these sites as bait for tourists is unethical and lead to unauthorized uncontrolled exploitation. Physical planning and urban development can keep heritage value aside.
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