Culture Ministry focuses on promotion of heritage sites on small islands
Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre government is working on a systematic plan for overall development of heritage sites and monuments located on small islands to promote them to draw more tourists.
With special focus on Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at least 17 structures including Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari, Nagarjunakonda (Guntur), Arnala Fort (Palghar), Janjira Fort (Raigad), Kolaba Fort (Alibaug), and a mosque along with remains in Bandipora are on the priority list.
The aim is to provide public amenities such as washrooms, free WiFi, and cafeteria and also accelerate conservation and preservation of the protected sites.
A panel of the culture ministry comprising parliamentarians has been conducting site visits to review the availability of facilities and gives its suggestion for improvement. The panel is likely to visit Port Blair by the end of this week.
Speaking about the initiatives for monuments on small islands, culture minister G Kishan Reddy said that audits of the protected sites are being conducted and facilities are developed according to the audit report.
“There are more than 3,600 monuments under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). We keep reviewing the situation to assess shortcomings, security status and maintenance requirements. Our priority is that there should be proper arrangements for potable water, toilets, and a cafeteria for the visitors. Audit of sites is taking place. We will put public amenities in place in better ways,” said Reddy.
The ministry is already running an ‘Adarsh Smarak’ scheme, launched in December 2016, to enhance public conveniences for the visitors especially for the differently-abled. Based on footfall, historical importance, grandeur, size and feasibility, 100 buildings were identified located in states – Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
“The country has an immense collection of cultural wealth on small islands. The government wants more tourists to go and see that precious heritage. Hence, efforts are being made to create awareness and augment public facilities for sightseers. There are small issues like poor wifi connectivity at Janjira Fort due to which tourists would face difficulties in ticket booking but that has been addressed,” said an official of ASI.