Govt fails to implement Heritage Conservation Act

Mir Farhat

SRINAGAR, Dec 19: Even as the State has abundant treasure of heritage buildings, the Government has failed to implement the Jammu and Kashmir Heritage Conservation Act for preservation of heritage in its six year term.
The J&K Heritage Conservation and Preservation Act 2010 was aimed  to conservation and preservation of heritage, both tangible and intangible including buildings, structures, monuments, precincts, areas, sites, and artefacts, etc.
However, the real picture of the historical buildings plays out a sorry tale. The heritage sites and buildings have a huge importance in the State to promote heritage tourism.
The State is bestowed with heritage sites from Mughal era to Dogra period which are in ruins as the Government has failed to preserve them. Unlike in other States where heritage tourism is one of the fastest growing industries, the State has failed to preserve them.
Convenor Jammu and Kashmir chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Mohammad Saleem Beg said that this is the one of the laws which has not been implemented in the State.
“The Act has not been implemented yet in the last four years. Some cosmetic measures have been done in some heritage buildings but that don’t suffice what the Act aimed at,” Beg told Excelsior.
Under this Act, the Government has to identify, register heritage buildings for their preservation.
He said buildings, shrines, temples and other religious places of heritage importance needs to be restored for our future generations.
Beg warned that over 60 important religious and heritage structures located along the banks of Jhelum in Srinagar, mostly in Old city are likely to become a thing of the past if the official apathy continues.
Starting from Zero Bridge, some of the structures along the Bund and Amira Kadal onwards to Chattabal are evidences of Kashmir’s wooden and mud architecture and of glorious past heritage.
The Government had constituted Jammu and Kashmir Heritage Conservation and Preservation Authority for conservation and preservation of heritage both tangible and intangible with a Corpus Fund to the tune of Rs 50 crore.
“But nothing has happened on the ground and the Authority remained only on papers. Government is not bothered to preserve the heritage sites here,” said an official of the Archaeological Department.
Valley’s noted poet, Zareef Ahmad Zareef said the heritage sites are cultural assets of immense value which provide identity and link its past to the future.
He said that heritage sites should be preserved for our future generations. “The heritage buildings including those which have religious importance are dying steadily. The future generations will know our partial history through books only if the heritage is not conserved,” he added.
Beg pinned hopes on the new dispensation that will be elected after the verdict of the ongoing Assembly elections.


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