If the amount spent on conservation work by Archaeological Survey of India is any indication, Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown and social distancing norms have affected the monuments conservation works by the ASI in 2020-21.
ASI could spend only Rs 5.25 crore during 2020-21 on conservation work of centrally protected monuments in the country. It may be noted that ASI had spent Rs 9.6 crore on similar works in the previous year. It shows that conservation works have been reduced during the last financial year considerably. What is even more concerning is the fact that this year’s allocation Rs 5 crore for the purpose is even less than the amount spent last year. According to conservationists, continuous under-spending for conservation work may affect monuments which may be in urgent need of repairs and renovations.
Meanwhile ASI has identified 21 monuments/works for declaring them as works of national importance. Of these five are located in Ladakh and three each in Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
According to an initial survey by NITI Aayog, the total quantum of India’s built heritage and archaeological remains may roughly amount to a total of 400000 plus heritage structures across the country including the centrally protected monuments, state protected monuments, heritage buildings under various religious trusts, historic cities and archaeological sites.