Govt boosts efforts to protect archaeological sites

July 2, 2015

Govt boosts efforts to protect archaeological sites=Amid criticism of distorting a portion of the historic Lalbagh Fort by the department of archaeology, the government has taken an initiative to demarcate archaeological sites in the country in a bid to protect those from encroachment.
The government will also control development work in the buffer zones of these sites, cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor told New Age over telephone from Comilla. The minister said a working group formed to demarcate the sites and their buffer zones visited Shalban Bihar in Comilla on Wednesday, adding that the demarcation would help protect these sites from the encroachers and also help them to be inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
‘We found many attempts of encroachment in the area. And unmonitored development works in the nearby areas have also tarnished the aesthetic value of the site,’ Asaduzzaman said.
‘We will have to thwart all such attempts causing destruction in the core areas of the archaeological sites and prevent unauthorised construction. It’s going to be a difficult work, but it is imperative that we continue.
‘The private developers will require permission before any construction work on the buffer zones of the historic sites. We will fix the size and colour of such works so that those structures do not distort the beauty of the sites,’ he added.
According to an official count, there are a total of 448 archaeological sites in the country of which two sites – including Somapura Mahavihara in Naogaon district and the mosque city of Bagerhat district – have already been inscribed on the list of UNESCO heritage sites.
The mangrove forest Sunderban has also been inscribed on the list.
The department of archaeology’s director general Altaf Hossain said that the demarcation of the core zones and buffer zones of the sites will ‘protect them from both government and private occupations.’
‘The construction work of the car parking lot at Lalbagh fort has been postponed,’ he said, adding that the working group will control such activities in future.

-Input from New Age

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