Heritage sites to be free of encroachments by Dec 31 – Times of India

Aurangabad: Different heritage sites and structures in the city are expected to be free from encroachments with authorities setting December 31 as the deadline for desired clean-up. Aurangabad divisional commissioner Purushottam Bhapkar chaired the crucial meeting about heritage conservation in the city during which necessary roadmap for such action was discussed, on Monday.

The proposed crackdown assumes significance as it would have direct bearing on citys dream of making it to the list of UNESCOs World Heritage Cities. Incidentally, the aforesaid meeting also discussed proposal that need to be submitted to the authorities concerned for getting tag of Word Heritage City.

As per official data, Aurangabad city and district as a whole has over 140 heritage sites with major chunk of them governed by the local civic body and rest by the State Archaeology department and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Ghrishneshwar Temple, Aurangabad Caves, Tomb of Rabia Daurani also known as Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Daulatabad Fort and monument of Chand Minar inside it, Tomb of Aurangazeb, Tomb of Malik Ambar and Pitalkhora Caves are some of the prominent ASI governed heritage sites in and around Aurangabad.

The move to carry out crackdown against encroachments in question has been welcomed by experts, who however, have also expressed apprehensions that words might not get translate into action for various reasons.

History expert Dulari Quereshi said the authorities should immediately start sending notices to encroachers failing which the proposed crackdown would not be successful.

Such action has been demanded for a long. Making heritages sites encroachment free would ensure multiple benefits including boosting chances of getting the tag of World Heritage City. Considering involvement of multiple government departments in proposed crackdown, top authorities should ensure constant supervision to achieve end results, she said.

As regards to prospects of Word Heritage City, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during cabinet meeting held in October last year, had first proposed inclusion of Aurangabad in UNESCOs World Heritage City Programme. More than one-year down the line, things have not progressed at all at the ground level however.

While Ahmedabad, which mostly houses heritage dating back to medieval and colonial periods, has become the first Indian city to make it to the list of UNESCOs World Heritage Cities during July, the illustrious tag still eludes Aurangabad which is claimed to be home to relatively older heritage structures and sites.

Senior history expert Rafat Qureshi said authorities should ensure their words become action. It is not the first time that tough talk against encroachments has been made. It has been seen that authorities however either develop lethargy later or drag their feet owing to political pressure. We have been trusting authorities for one last time now and raise public agitation if no corrective measures are taken, he said.

Qureshi also flayed authorities for allegedly remaining mute spectator to

systematic destruction of local heritage on one hand, but eyeing the World Heritage Site on the other hand.

Khas Gate along with fortification wall of Himayat Bagh, section of Neher-e-Ambari, portion of Neher-e-Panchakki, Kala Chabutara, Damdi Mahal, Fazil Pura Bridge and Dargah Bridge are some of the structures that have received damage beyond repair during past one-year due to official apathy. The identity of Aurangabad has City of 52 Gates has also been erased to major extent now due to such apathy. Authorities should first take holistic measure to preserve remaining heritage before eyeing any international tag otherwise such plans would become big joke, he said.

Source Article from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/heritage-sites-to-be-free-of-encroachments-by-dec-31/articleshow/61374648.cms

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