NASHIK: Under the Department of Archaeology, the Maharashtra Vaibhav-State Protected Monuments Adoption Scheme has been announced in order to preserve the rich heritage of the State including the Nashik district. An open offer has been given to local self-governing bodies/private companies, and trustee boards in Nashik to take guardianship of 28 state-protected monuments in the Nashik district and to preserve, conserve and beautify those monuments.
These include the birthplace of freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar at Bhagur, Sarkarwada, Sundar Narayan Mandir and Nilkantheshwar Mahadeo Mandir in Nashik and Kushavart Tirth, Tribhuvaneshwar and Indraleshwar at Trimbakeshwar.
However, the scheme allows these private entities to ‘adopt’ monuments for long durations like 10 years, which may be a dampener for those who want to provide one-time donations. Officials said the adoption policy also may not serve the purpose where the capital costs for the repairs and conservation of these sites are substantial.
So far, a few monuments have been given for adoption including the Naldurg fort at Osmanabad, the birthplace of former deputy prime minister Yashwantrao Chavan in Satara district and the Ghodbunder fort. The scheme will also continue to exist as an option for those who want to adopt monuments.
The state government is working on a major reboot of its heritage conservation policy to allow private donors and corporate houses to fund the conservation and maintenance of its monuments. This will help overcome the chronic crunch of funds and resources for the upkeep of these heritage sites and ensure the participation of local communities.
This will create a mechanism that works parallel to the existing government system for conservation and protection. It will bring in private funding for the upkeep of monuments, involve local communities in conservation and ensure that the financial gains from these projects are utilised for heritage conservation itself. The technical aspects of the conservation will however be overseen by the directorate of museums and archaeology.
At present, the state government has a shoe-string allocation of Rs 48 crore to conserve and protect the 375 protected monuments in Maharashtra, which include the 59 Maratha-era forts and 147 temples.
The proposed scheme will also allow non-protected sites, like forts that have not been granted protected status, temples, wells and water tanks (kundas) that have historic value and antiquity, to be conserved.