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Preserving the heritage status of the Hampi monuments

Although Hampi was accorded World Heritage Site status in 1986, it was not till 1999-2000 that the authorities concerned began initiating steps to protect and manage it properly following a decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include it in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. 

However, owing to the concerted efforts and effective implementation of various schemes the Government could in 2006 get Hampi out of the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in Danger”. 

Since then, the authorities have been trying to meet the requirements put forth by the UNESCO to retain the wonted status of Hampi. 

The factors that had prompted UNESCO to consider Hampi a heritage site in danger included the then Government's proposal to construct a bridge across Tungabhadra river near Talwarghatta, existence of a residential locality, M.P. Prakash Nagar, in the core zone of the heritage site, and encroachments in and around the Virupaksha temple. The objection against the bridge lost relevance since it collapsed during construction in 2009 and no efforts have been initiated to re-start the work. 

At present, the challenges being faced by the authorities relate to relocation of the people living in M.P. Prakash Nagar and clearing the encroachments in and around the Virupaksha temple and the Virupaksha bazaar. 

However, the Government has identified the land for relocation of the residents of M.P. Prakash Nagar outside the peripheral area, the major task to be attended to comes down to clearing the encroachments. 

When contacted, G.S. Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Bangalore Circle, Bangalore, said “Hampi is still a popular tourist destination world over. We are putting in best efforts to retain the authenticity and integrity of the monuments here. The UNESCO personnel have been suggesting ways and means to improve upon the ongoing work. The pace of work is slow considering the enormity of the task. Although much has been done so far, a lot remains to be done.” 

Author: M. Ahiraj | Source: The Hindu [June 20, 2011]


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