Uttarakhand News

Govt to bring ‘Uttarakhand Heritage Act’ to preserve heritage sites and buildings

by Abhay Aswal
Jul 25, 2017

Uttarakhand government is set to bring a legislation which will include the preservation and restoration of historical monuments and buildings that are not already a part any other government policy. Heritage sites which are symbols of Uttarakhand’s historical and cultural identity will come under the purview of the ‘Uttarakhand Heritage Act’. Some of the buildings that will get the ‘heritage status’ include the 145-year old Almora Jail where India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru served two jail terms during the freedom struggle and the majestic British-era Raj Bhawan nestled in the Nainital hills.

The draft (of the Heritage Act) is ready and has been sent to the state administration. It has also been thrown open for suggestions from individuals and will soon be sent to the state cabinet for approval.

– Beena Bhatt, Director of Uttarakhand Culture Department

Jageshwar Temple Complex, Uttarakhand

At present, around 113 monuments and heritage sites in Uttarakhand are protected by the state government as well as Government of India under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. The new legislation will not only include sites and structures, but also streets, artefacts, important natural features, and environmentally-sensitive areas such as sacred groves, lakes, traditional bridle paths, wetlands, or wooded areas, which are integral to the state’s cultural ethos and environment. The proposed law will ensure that development activities are restricted around these heritage sites.

It’s been more than 16 years since the formation (of Uttarakhand in 2000) and a lot of damage has already been caused to our heritage sites. In fact, we’d been pressing for the state to have its heritage policy for a long time but better late than never.

– Lokesh Ohri, Dehradun-based heritage expert

According to the Uttarakhand Heritage Act, an authority will be constituted comprising of an architect, a structural engineer, a historian, and an environmentalist etc. who will identify the potential heritage sites in the state and prepare the conservation and maintenance strategy.

Inputs from Hindustan Times