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Sunday, 12 August 2012

World heritage tag proposed for four sites in Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: India may be gifted with tens of thousands of heritage properties, but its contribution to the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites is only 28.

Lack of well selected and prioritized Tentative List (TL) is said to be the main reason for the slow nomination to UNESCO, which maintains 962 World Heritage Sites across the globe.

Even though UNESCO recommends that a country's TL be updated at least every 10 years, it's not strictly followed. India currently has 32 properties on its TL, first prepared in 1998. To find a solution this, a workshop on "Revision of Tentative List for India', organised by the ASI Chennai Circle and Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu in consultation with the Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters (ACWHM), was held in the city on Friday.

The fourth zonal workshop organised in a series of six workshops, focussed on review of existing and proposed properties on the TL in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. "The idea is to identify likely trends in the TL nominations and also to develop a more scientific approach in the selection of sites. The results of the workshop will be presented at the South Asia Regional Workshop scheduled in Delhi in December and the final recommendations from the workshop will be used to prepare the revised TL for 2012," explained Sujit Banerjee, Chairman, ACWHM.

At least 350 people participated in workshop, which witnessed interesting presentations of sites proposed to be included in the TL. While presenting his paper on Fort St George, Sriram V, convener, INTACH Chennai, said it is high time this building is included in the list. The other presentations from Tamil Nadu were made by Bernard Dragan (Chettinad), Roopmathi Anand (Srirangam Temple) and Xavier Benedict (Pulicat). Representatives, NGOs and heritage experts from states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka and Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry participated in the workshop.

TL is an inventory of properties situated in a country which it considers suitable for inscription on the WHL. Nominations to the WHL are not considered unless the nominated property has already been included on the country's TL for at least a year. Talking to TOI, Aruna Bagchee, chairperson, Tentative List Working Group, said the presentations from the southern region were excellent. "We had quite a number of presentations from various states. We have to sit and work on the recommendations now. We hope we can file the final report to the Union ministry of culture by December," she said.

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