|Gangai Konda Cholapuram|
The National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) does the mistake again! Yes. After facing strong resistance from the public on its attempt to grab a portion of historic temples at Panayapuram ( near Vikravandi) and Manampadi (near Cholapuram) few years ago, the widening of the highway by demolishing a portion of the 1000 year old temples at the above places, NHAI had given up the move. But similar attempt is initiated to lay the road about 100 meters close to the World Heritage site at Gangai konda Cholapuram.
Times of India in its Chennai edition dated 8th July 2019, has reported that Gangaikonda Cholapuram Development Trust, which works for the development of the place has approached the Madras High Court with the concern that the move would cause damage to the UNESCO Heritage site as it would violate the provisions of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains Act ( “No one should encroach or construct any buildings within 100 metres from the boundaries of such protected monuments.”)
The district collector of Ariyalur was also approached by the trust and the representation has been forwarded to the project director of NHAI. It is strange that the NHAI has failed to maintain compliance to the above Act . It has also disregarded the sentiments of the people although it has faced similar situations before. The Archaeological Survey of India which maintains the Heritage site should have objected to the road work. The non coordination between these departments is thus exposed. Now it is left to the people to seek justice from the court.
However, we must be glad that at least few enthusiasts have taken the issue to the court.
It is unexplained why the Indians are so lethargic in sustaining the Heritage sites. Is it because they are not groomed from schooldays about the importance of preserving the past glory? A Face book post shared by my friend yesterday is worth sharing here.
|Courtesy: Liesbeth Pankaja|
While the very purpose of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE)board is to protect, preserve and maintain the tradition of the temples, it is not known why they keep a blind eye on ancient temples for nearly a century. The dilapidated temple shown here may not survive if negligence continues.
|Source: Not known|
This is just an example to show how the Government department works. The judiciary should intervene into the matter and an early verdict of the court may solve the crisis before it is too late.
The Heritage enthusiasts will be surprised to know how lethargic the authorities of the temples maintained by HR &CE. It is shocking to find Sculptures tied with scaffolding as the one shown in the picture below. Are they not aware that the sculptures are likely to be damaged by this act? Are they meant for this purpose? It is nothing but shame on temple authorities. This is why people from various quarters want the exit of HR&CE from the temples to give way for an independent body to look after the temples. This will also prevent the encroachment of temple property, misuse of temple income etc. We hope that the lethargic attitude of Indians vanish soon and a new chapter is opened to proudly say that the monument protection in India is the best in the world. Let us wait for the dawn.