Thursday, 23 December 2010

INTACH to document heritage sites in rural Punjab

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) plans to list and document all rural heritage sites in Punjab. It will also document all heritage artefacts in private possession in the region.

The need to conserve heritage buildings and sites was felt due to the increased urbanisation that was destroying such sites in the rural hinterland of the state.

“The pace at which heritage is lost in rural areas is much faster than in urban areas. We need to take corrective steps,” INTACH’s new chairman Lt Gen (Retd) L K Gupta told The Indian Express.

After documentation of such heritage sites across the country, he said, INTACH would focus on bringing out different publications on such places.

“Besides, we aim to influence the government policies for emphasising on heritage conservation and press for policies for renewal of old infrastructure, and not just focussing on creation of new infrastructure,” said Gupta.

He added that INTACH would ask the Central and state governments to enact laws for heritage conservation in every part of the country. The trust has recently released funds for six of its chapters to document heritage sites in their areas.

INTACH’s Punjab team met here recently to chalk out the strategy to step up its efforts towards the documentation and conservation plans. The team also held a meeting with a few prominent local citizens to create more awareness about conservation of heritage.

INTACH’s Punjab chapter coordinator Sukhdev Singh said they would impress upon the state government for bringing an amendment in the Municipal Corporation Act, to include provisions for preservation of the cultural and heritage sites across the state.

He added that they were also working on a proposal to list all valuable artefacts in private hands.

To create more awareness about heritage, INTACH has tied up with the National Mission for Monuments and Antiquities, which will provide the necessary funds for creating awareness among the public.

Five such awareness campaigns will be launched initially in Patiala, Faridkot, Amritsar, Kapurthala and Bathinda and the common man will be briefed about heritage conservation and motivated to play a pro-active role.

Patiala and Amritsar are among the 50 selected cities across the country shortlisted for heritage conservation, five of which will be selected for documentation on a programme, “My City, My History”, on Fox History television channel, after selecting the five best entries of an essay contest for children conducted by INTACH in association with the channel.

Sanjeev Chopra, indianexpress, 20th Dec 2010

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