Does the Maharashtra State Archaeology Department care for its heritage structure?
The Maharashtra State Archaeological Department is being criticized for its alleged inaction in preserving Pune’s heritage. The Department is a member of the Urban Heritage Committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Citing an example of Rajguru wada (the birth place of freedom fighter Rajguru), critics have pointed using the documents procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that out of the 56 meetings of the committee held in last three years, representative of the department was present only in one occasion.
The committee, which shapes the policy and procedure for conservation of heritage within PMC area is headed by former director-general of archaeology, D. N. Mandlekar, it has 11 members, which include prominent architects, historian and conservationists, along with INTACH, Deccan College and State Archaeology Department.
Minutes of the meetings show that 56 meetings were conducted since 2010, out of which one had to be cancelled for want of quorum in January 2012. The presence of the State Archaeology Department was marked in the meeting held on September 12, 2012. The continued absence of the State Archaeology Department was specifically pointed out in the past but to no avail. Not only in Maharashtra, the heritage structures in the rest of the country too continue to be in a dilapidated state due to neglect.