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Heritage Alerts
August 2017

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Restored part of Flora Fountain might open this November

The first phase of the restoration work of Flora Fountain will be thrown open to citizens by October-November depending on the monsoon. The work, that aims to restore the nearly 150-year-old fountain, began in September 2016 and was expected to be completed by September this year. "If the rains do not prolong, we expect to finish the work by October," said Vikas Dilawari, a conservation architect who has been appointed as the consultant in the case.

Funded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the work is being carried out by Dilawari and expert conservators from INTACH. The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs 3.5 crore. The first phase costs Rs 1.5 crore while the second phase will cost Rs 2.2 crore. Around four to five conservators work there at any given time. Flora Fountain was opened in the year 1869. Made of Portland stone, it was dedicated to then Governor Bartle Frere. "R Norman Shaw was the designer of the fountain and it was sculpted by James Forsythe," said an engineer from the heritage committee of the BMC who oversees the restoration work. "We are done cleaning the main statue. Steam was used to clean and remove the paint.

We are also done with cleaning the four celestial statutes. Now, the work is on for the trough part after which final touches will be given. We have had to take great care throughout. We removed the scaffolding when the wind was too powerful and we did not want it to damage anything," said Dilawari. The BMC engineer confirmed the new date of completion of work on condition of anonymity. He added, "The tendering is still in the process for phase two. That too will take around six to seven months time and will take care of the surrounding work of the Flora Fountain."

- http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-restored-part-of-flora-fountain-might-open-this-november-2519656, August 1, 2017

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Ashokan pillar found near Talcher

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found remains of a rare Asokan column from Praneswara temple in Jharhiamba village of Angul district.The site, located 10 kms south of Talcher town, is surrounded by river Brahmani in the north and Nandir Jhor nullah in south and east. The NTPC is constructing an ash pond a few metres to the east of the site.Informing this to mediapersons here on Monday, Superintending Archaeologist Dibishada B Garnayak said potsherds of red ware, red polished ware, black ware, grey ware and terracotta tiles have also been found near the ash pond site, close to the bank of river Brahmani.

All the sculptures might be belonging to pre-Christian era, he added. Local villagers had been worshipping a portion of the broken Ashokan column for several years at the temple considering it to be a part of Shiva Lingam. Some portions of the column are also lying scattered on the temple premises. When a team of ASI officials visited the temple last week, they came across the structure and found that it was an Ashokan column, measuring 3.47 metres. Locals informed that base of the column is buried 3 m below the present ground level.

“This is the second such column found in Odisha, the first one being at Bhaskareswara temple in Bhubaneswar,” Garnayak said, adding that all features of the sculptures and location of the site on the confluence of river Brahmani and Nandir Jhor suggest that this was also an important Buddhist establishment dating back to pre-Christian era. He further said since other important Buddhist sites of Odisha like Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Langudi are also located on lower Brahmani drainage system, there must be some cultural and religious interaction between these establishments. The ASI excavation branch is planning to undertake a trial trench excavation at the site to understand its archaeological significance.Former Archaeology professor of Utkal University Sadasiba Pradhan was a part of the team.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/aug/01/ashokan-pillar-found-near-talcher-1636528.html, August 1, 2017

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ASI declares 1,076 temples protected monuments

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has declared 1,076 temples as protected monuments in the country, Parliament was informed on Monday. In Karnataka alone, there were 506 monuments and sites including 242 temples declared protected monuments, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma told the Lok Sabha.

He said the monuments, including temples, were in a good state of preservation and the conservation work was attended to regularly by the ASI to maintain the original character of the site and to retain its authenticity and integrity and heritage values. “The conservation, preservation, maintenance of these Centrally-protected monuments and sites including temples in the country is a continuous process,” he said.

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/asi-declares-1076-temples-protected-monuments-2366988/, August 1, 2017

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Pioneer of Indian prehistoric archaeology commemorated

The achievements of Robert Bruce Foote, a British geologist and archaeologist who pioneered the expedition of Indian prehistory by adopting scientific methods, have been documented in an interesting short film.Titled Robert Bruce Foote - The Father of Indian Prehistory, the short film that records the achievements of the man who documented the prehistory of India, particularly through material evidence from southern parts, was produced by a nature buff Ramesh Yanthra. There was applause at the Museum Theatre in Egmore once the screening ended. Foote’s first discovery of a hand tool was made in Chennai.

He found a Paleolithic stone tool, a hand axe made of stone, on May 30, 1863, at Pallavaram in Chennai. “The instinct to discern and see history in the stone tool spurred him to roam around with a mission in search of antiquities for about 40 years,” said S Singanenjam, former Director, Geological Survey of India (GSI). Along with W King, Foote found another hand axe on September 28, 1863 at Attirampakkam located in Tiruvallur district.These findings were path-breaking in the search for material evidence to uncover the prehistory of India.His expeditions fetched him the title ‘Father of Indian Prehistoric Archaeology’. Several of Robert Bruce Foote’s collections were deposited at the Government Museum, Egmore in 1906.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/aug/02/pioneer-of-indian-prehistoric-archaeology-commemorated-1637067.html, August 2, 2017

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Delhi to apply for Unesco Imperial Capital Cities status

Delhi will apply for “Unesco Imperial Capital Cities” status, the government said on Wednesday, alleging that the city’s entry for Unesco World Heritage City was withdrawn by the Centre due to “political agenda”. Atishi Marlena, adviser to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said Delhi’s entry for heritage city status was withdrawn to favour Ahmedabad, which was last month declared the first Unesco World Heritage City in India. “Delhi will apply to get the prestigious tag of Unesco Imperial Capital Cities. Delhi has 218 heritage sites and the city has an important role in the history and heritage of the country.

“Sisodia will also write to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma in this connection,” Marlena said. The central government in 2015 had pulled out Delhi’s entry for the Unesco World Heritage City status, saying that if Delhi was given the prestigious tag, it would put “restrictions” on several infrastructure works in the national capital. Marlena said Delhi’s dossier for the heritage city status was prepared in 2008 by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and in 2014 it was submitted in the Unesco during the AAP government’s 49-day tenure.

“But the BJP-led central government pulled out Delhi’s entry in 2015 and submitted Ahmedabad’s nomination for the prestigious tag. Delhi’s nomination was pulled out by the Centre because of their political agenda,” Marlena told reporters. She added: “We have no problem with Ahmedabad being given the tag of Unesco World Heritage City but withdrawing Delhi’s nomination due to political agenda is not fair.” On the central government’s clarification for withdrawing Delhi’s nomination, Marlena said norms were already there restricting construction-related works in Lutyens’ Delhi and in Shahjahanabad area (Old Delhi).

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/delhi-to-apply-for-unesco-imperial-capital-cities-status-2373533/, August 3, 2017

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Archaeological sites to be polythene free zones

To keep the monuments and archaeological sites clean, the government has recommended prohibition on use of polythene, Parliament was told on Wednesday. “All the states and union territories have been directed to issue necessary direction to local municipal bodies and concerned departments to make the area 300 metres from the boundary of a protected monument polythene-free zone,” Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma told the Rajya Sabha.

He said that the Archaeological Survey of India has declared all ASI protected monuments and archaeological sites as “polythene-free zones”. “All the field offices of ASI have been directed for necessary compliance. In this regard, the secretary has also issued a letter to all the Chief Secretaries of states to elicit their active cooperation for making centrally protected monuments as polythene free zone,” he added.

- http://www.india.com/news/agencies/archaeological-sites-to-be-polythene-free-zones-2373260/, August 3, 2017

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780 Indian languages surveyed and documented; India now aims to document 6000 world languages

India took a major leap today in documenting and preserving its language diversity with the People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) launching the volumes on languages spoken across 10 states in India including Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Karnataka. These volumes have been published by Orient BlackSwan publishers. The ceremony was held here today in C. D. Deshmukh Hall, India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi which saw the launch of 26 books/volumes. These were launched by former Prime Minister Dr.

Manmohan Singh in presence of several dignitaries, intellectuals, historians and academicians like Kapila Vatsayan, Asis Nandi, Ashok Vajpayee, Major General (Retd.) L.K. Gupta, Chairman INTACH. PLSI, an initiative of Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Vadodara, will eventually bring out 60 such volumes by the end of 2018 to be published by Orient Blackswan. These volumes will be published both in Hindi and English. Some volumes will also be published in regional languages of India. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, stressed the fundamental importance of languages to human society, saying that, “innovative research related to languages” needs to be encouraged.

Dr. Singh appreciated Bhasha Research and Publication Centre for making efforts to preserve the Indian languages. Dr.G. N Devy, General Editor and Chairperson, PLSI said that “The central idea of this survey is to document and preserve 780 languages which are being spoken in India today. Today is the day of celebration of language diversity for the country and we will ensure that these languages survive the test of time and place.” Dr. Ganesh Devy also announced the next big project “Global Languages Survey” under which over 6000 languages being spoken in the world will be surveyed and documented.

Talking about the project Devy said, “India will be only country in the world with such a big repository of world languages. Global Language Survey Report aims to ensure that no language ever slips into oblivion. We aim to complete the entire exercise by 2022.” Along with this, the event also saw the launch of “Dakashinayana Indian Thought” (DIT) series which is an attempt to bring together discursive literature available in Indian languages and democratic culture. These are compiled by collective of thinkers and scholars from different parts of the country.

- https://indiaeducationdiary.in/780-indian-languages-surveyed-documented-india-now-aims-document-6000-world-languages/, August 4, 2017

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More Than Half Of India's Languages May Die Out In The Next 50 Years, Reveals Survey

More than half of the languages spoken by India's 1.3 billion people may die out over the next 50 years, scholars said on Thursday, calling for a concerted effort to preserve the tongues spoken by the nation's endangered tribal communities. The People's Linguistic Survey of India (PSLI) raised the alarm during the launch of the latest 11 volumes in its planned 50 volume survey of the country's languages. India's people speak as many as 780 different languages, the PSLI said.

"At least 400 Indian languages are at the risk of dying in coming 50 years," G.N. Devy, the chairman of PSLI, said. Each time a language is lost, the corresponding culture is killed, Devy said, adding that India had already lost 250 languages in last five decades. The group of scholars and teachers at PSLI documents Indian regional languages in order to conserve cultural heritage and diversity. Most at risk are marginal tribal communities whose children receive no education or, if they do go to school, are taught in one of India's 22 officially recognized languages. "Maithili, which is spoken in the eastern state of Bihar, is at least 1,000 years old.

Similarly there are several old languages which are surviving somehow in India, but we are hardly passing them on," said political psychologist Ashis Nandy. Devy said the PSLI will start work on a project to document about 6,000 living languages spoken around the world. The report is scheduled to come out by 2025.

- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/08/03/more-than-half-of-indias-languages-may-dies-out-in-the-next-50_a_23063085/, August 4, 2017

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Rakhi celebrated

Patiala: Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with fervour at Scholar Fields Public School here. To commemorate the day, a special assembly was organised, which marked the beginning of the celebrations. The school choir presented a melodious song, highlighting the significance of the festival. Girls showcased their creativity when they joined hands to design a 12-foot-long rakhi to be presented to AS Rai, Inspector General, Vigilance, Patiala. As a mark of respect and gratitude, the girls also tied a rakhi to school director SS Sodhi and chairman SS Chaddha.

Heritage quiz
Patiala: The INTACH India Heritage Quiz-2017 was organised at DAV School, Patiala, aiming to increase awareness about the nation among schoolchildren belonging to Classes VII to X. Students were made aware about the Indian heritage by Amarjeet Singh Waraich, Assistant Director, All India Radio, Patiala; and S Balwinder Singh Sandhu, a renowned Punjabi writer and poet. The quiz consisted of two rounds-written and oral-during which 70 students from different schools of Patiala participated. The oral round had four sections, based on the Indian culture and famous personalities. Principal SR Prabhakar said, “Such activities connect the youth with our heritage and culture. The knowledge of our culture and heritage can play a significant role in polishing the young students. Hence, they should enthusiastically participated in such activities."

Teej celebrations
Patiala: Fervour marked the Teej celebrations at Police DAV Public School. The whole campus bore a colourful look. Girls from Classes III to V participated enthusiastically in the Teej queen competition. Students were adjudged on the basis of their costume, voice and performance. Harmeen of Class III, Taranpreet of Class X and Sehaj of Class V were adjudged best performers. The best costume award went to Hansika (III) , Divya (V) and Jashandeep (IV). Harleen of Class IV was honoured for the best voice. The first and second runners-up were Diya and Anmol Kaur of Class IV. The title of of the Teej queen was won by Anmoldeep Kaur of Class IV.

Inter-house debate
Patiala: The British Co-Ed High School, Patiala, organised an inter-house Punjabi debate on Saturday. The topic for the debate was the problems of students due to unrestricted freedom. Jaspreet Kaur, Punjabi lecturer, Multani Mal Modi College, Patiala, was the judge on the occasion. Students said independence was highly important to help students grow and gain exposure. In contrast, debaters against the motion stated that unnecessary freedom given to students could make them engage in wrong activities. Teresa and Tagore Houses shared the first position while the second position was bagged by Tolstoy House. Japharjot Singh of Class VIII was declared as the best speaker. The school principal, Kiran Harika, congratulated the winners and asked students to nurture good communication skills.

Seminar by book trust
Patiala: Sahitya Akademi awardee Dr Darshan Singh Aasht presented a paper on the topic, "Challenges of Writing for Children", in two-day national seminar organised by the National Book Trust, India. Dr Aasht emphasised the the need for the development of children's literature so that the mother tongue of children could be made rich. Dr Aasht said the tradition of competitions in Punjabi language should be started in schools. The Director of the NBT, Dr Reeta Chaudhary, and other officials honoured Dr Aasht. The Governor of Goa, Mridula Sinha; and the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University, Dharmshala (HP), Dr Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri, were also presented on the occasion. TNS

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/rakhi-celebrated/447882.html, August 8, 2017

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Delhi Metro to begin curated walks from Saturday

The Delhi Metro will begin a month-long “Heritage Walk” programme from Saturday to give people a taste of the rich history of Old Delhi. The custom designed special ‘walks’ in the old Delhi areas for tourists and heritage enthusiasts will give them a detailed view of the cultural and historical heritage of many old Delhi landmarks. In order to portray the rich culture of the city, DMRC has installed artworks, exhibitions etc at many stations across the city.

The Heritage Walks initiative is also an attempt by DMRC to take the city’s heritage closer to the people. One has to pay Rs 500 per walk and duration of every walk would be around 60 to 90 minutes. A total of eight such thematic walks will be conducted during the month on Saturdays and Sundays. “The inaugural walk on August 5 and will be titled ‘An Empire’s Tale through the Blooming Red’. As part of this pilot project, a total of eight such walks with different themes will be arranged on all weekends of the month of August," said a spokesperson of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

- https://www.newdelhitimes.com/delhi-metro-to-begin-curated-walks-from saturday/, August 8, 2017

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Rajon ki Baoli: Well of history loses sheen

Take a walk in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and one would come across a magnificent structure with intricate artwork that looks like a city in itself, walk a little ahead and one can find young men smoking hashish and hookah. Ask them where they are and they know nothing about the structure; the guard at the gate does not seem to know either. The largest and most artistic among the three baolis in Mehrauli is the Rajon ki Baoli — a stepwell once used by Rajon (masons). Constructed by Daulat Khan during Sikander Lodi's reign between 1498-1517 AD, the baoli is a rectangular structure and has four different stages with rooms on either side at each level.

These rooms were built for masons/travellers to rest. Four levels down, the baoli holds some dirty water with plastic, and algae growth in it. This has now become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Each level has a courtyard and rooms with ornate work around it that lies unnoticed. Opposite the baoli is a Lodi Dynasty mausoleum and both the structures say 'Protected Monument'. The monument is of national importance under the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1951. But the only guard at the gate does not know the significance of any of the structures and is a little unsure of allowing a woman to go inside alone due to anti-social elements and the fact that it is unsafe. On the right side of the baoli lies a staircase that leads to a small mosque on the terrace.

On the outside is a twelve-pillar canopy tomb also known as Barakhamba. Some young men from the neighbourhood here break beer bottles and smoke hashish with indifference. "This is some kuan," one of them says while the other responds, "This is Gandhak ki baoli, everyone says this is that sulphur water of Mehrauli." (Gandhak ki baoli is several metres away from here and the men are not even sure what a baoli is). Earlier, the water in the stepwell used to rise to the third level, but over a period of 500 years, the well got silted up. Descending levels In 2004-05, the Archaeological Survey of India and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) carried operations for desilting of the well. Desilting of the stepwell was carried out up to 6.1 metres, following which the water level rose to 20 feet. But after the desilting, there was never a provision to use the water in the baoli leading to stagnancy, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-rajon-ki-baoli-well-of-history-loses-sheen-2521271, August 8, 2017

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DMRC to hold art camp to promote Indian culture

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in association with the Master Sansar Chand Baru Trust (MSCBT), Jammu, organised a national art camp-cum-workshop at the Metro’s newly inaugurated ‘Prakriti – Metro Park’ at Shastri Park from August 5 to 8. The DMRC has earlier associated itself with many other government organisations such as the Ministry of Culture, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Delhi Tourism, India Habitat Centre, Indian Council of Historical Research, the Crafts Museum as well as independent artists for setting up display panels, art works etc at the Metro stations across the network.

Spokesperson for the DMRC said to promote the culture of book reading among the commuters, book stores have also been opened at the Kashmere Gate and Vishwavidyalaya Metro stations by the National Book Trust and Sahitya Akademi. In three-day workshop, 15 artists from different states participated and produced 30 creative canvas paintings depicting rich Indian heritage. Participation certificates were distributed to these artists by Sharat Sharma, Director (Operations), in the presence of other senior DMRC officials. The workshop was organised with an objective to promote the Indian cultural heritage through art works to the common man. The paintings produced by these artists will be displayed at different Metro stations, said the spokesperson.

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/delhi/dmrc-to-hold-art-camp-to-promote-indian-culture/449301.html, August 9, 2017

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Empowering an embattled craft

Handloom is one of the most exquisite textile traditions of India, and weaving was once the largest income generating activity in the country. The livelihood of craftspersons has been threatened by the advent of powerlooms and mass produced textiles. As a result, many weavers’ clusters across the country started dwindling, and the craft began to diminish. Recognising the need for structured skill development to preserve the heritage of weaving traditions and to upgrade and provide weavers skills to market their wares, are certain institutions, both Government and private. Here’s a look at some of them:

The Handloom School
The Handloom School (THS), Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, is a unique school, dedicated to educating young Indian weavers to become innovative, self-sufficient and entrepreneurial. THS was launched in 2015 by WomenWeave, an NGO established by Sally Holkar (co-founder of Rehwa Society), with the mission to provide a rigorous, non-traditional education for students who possess traditional weaving skills but don’t have access to a conventional academic education. Nivedita Rai, executive director of Gudi Mudi Project of WomenWeave, says they focus on young weavers from the traditional weaving communities who are no longer interested in weaving. “We motivate them and inspire weavers from across the country and different clusters, in the age group of 18 to 28 years.” The six-month-long course offered to these weavers covers a wide range of subjects — basics of production, basics of cotton, social marketing, advanced weaving techniques, basics of dyeing, pre-process techniques and also how to photograph their products. Basic business English and personality development is also part of the curriculum. “We try to equip them with all skills required to transform them into weaver entrepreneurs, make them market-ready,” says Rai. Currently, it is young weavers from Madhya Pradesh and the neighbouring Hindi-speaking states who are enrolled in the course.

“Our medium of instruction is Hindi and when weavers from South India participate, they discontinue after a few days as they do not understand Hindi. We plan to launch another handloom school down South to accommodate weavers in these areas as well,” she says. There is no fee for weavers who wish to enrol in the six-month course. Boarding and lodging is free too. At the end of the course, students are sent for internship to various organisations such as Good Earth and Nalli Silks in New Delhi. “The biggest moment for us was when 14 students walked the ramp along with the designers at the Amazon India Fashion Week in March this year,” she says, adding, “It is such exposure that our young weavers must be provided with.”

IIHT, Salem, Tamil Nadu
The Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Salem, Tamil Nadu, functions under the administrative control of the Development Commissioner of Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. A post-graduate diploma in textile processing and diploma in handloom and textile technology caters especially to students from the weaving community in the region. P Thennarasu, director of IIHT, says, “In our diploma courses, a minimum of 50% (some years it is almost 75%) of students are from the weaving community only, and the medium of instruction is English, as we also take students from the Southern states.”

Weavers Service Centre
An entity of the Ministry of Textiles, Weavers Service Centre (WSC) caters predominantly to handloom weavers. There are 28 WSCs spread across the country, and Tamil Nadu alone has three WSCs, in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Salem. Short-term (4 months) courses and one-month observation courses are conducted at these centres. Vishesh Nautiyal, director, WSC (south zone), says that though the courses are designed for the weaving community, many textile and fashion design students enrol and benefit. “Our short-term courses and observatory courses are flexible. Weavers can either learn a range of techniques or limit themselves to just one or two,” says Nautiyal. In the observatory course, weavers or students learn simple weaving, design, making graphs and punch cards, and the basics of dyeing. “Under the Government-sponsored cluster development programmes, we go to the location of the weavers and train them. We pay them a compensation under this scheme.

If they wish to come to WSC, then they pay a nominal fee,” says Nautiyal. WSC upgrades and trains weavers in order to impact newer skills, upgrade their weaving, provide new technology, introduce newer products and also the revival of certain traditional products. All the courses at WSC are open to the public.

- http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-handloom-schoo-weavers-service-centre/article19450330.ece, August 9, 2017

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Nagasaki Day observed

Students of The British School, Chandigarh, paid homage to victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic disasters. They watched a biopic on it, flew white balloons and took a pledge to love human beings and other creatures. The school also started a peace club to spread the message of world peace and love for humanity on Nagasaki Day. Students prepare rakhis International Day of Friendship and Raksha Bandhan were celebrated at SMD Little Champ Smart School, Panchkula. Students took part in different activities and tied friendship band on the wrist of their friends. They also prepared rakhis out of waste material. Students were apprised of the importance of Raksha Bandhan and friends in their lives.

Rakhis for soldiers Students and the staff at Genius World Play School, Chandigarh, sent rakhis to the jawans of the Indian armed forces. These rakhis were made by tiny tots of pre-nursery, nursery, KG, Classes I and II.

Heritage quiz Ambala: The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Ambala, organised a quiz for children at Army Public School in the cantonment area on Wednesday. As many as 108 children from 16 schools participated. It was a written quiz. Four teams were selected for the oral round. Army Public School won the first position, Lord Mahavira Jain School and the CJM, Ambala Cantonment, secured the second and third positions, respectively. Army Public School will now participate in the heritage quiz at the state-level in September.

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/nagasaki-day-observed/449924.html, August 10, 2017

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Baroda boys to represent Gujarat in Intach India heritage quiz

Two students from Vadodara's Bright Day School's CBSE unit at Vasna will represent Gujarat at the national round of INTACH India Heritage Quiz that will be held in November at New Delhi. The team comprises Manav Jani and Rohan Puntambekar, both students of Class X, on Tuesday won the zonal round of the heritage quiz that was held at Ahmedabad. "Jani and Puntambekar had stood first in the city round held in Vadodara at New Era Senior Secondary School on July 24," said Bhavik Parekh, principal of Bright Day School's CBSE unit at Vasna. "After winning the city round, the two students had participated in the zonal round held for Gujarat at Ahmedabad.

There were teams from Rajpipla, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad and Rajkot apart from Vadodara of which our students have emerged as the winners," he said. In 2015-16, too, a team from the same school had won the zonal round of the heritage quiz and represented Gujarat at the national round. The quiz is held after every three years. Jani and Puntambekar had also stood first in the Tech Navfest IT Quiz that was held at Navrachana School, Sama on August 5. "Our entire school is proud of their achievements and wish them all the best for the future rounds," he said.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/baroda-boys-to-represent-gujarat-in-intach-india-heritage-quiz/articleshow/59990327.cms, August 10, 2017

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4,000-year-old bone jewels, capstone found near Hyderabad

Nearly 4,000-year-old bone ornaments, a capstone and other rare objects belonging to the megalithic age have been found at different sites near Hyderabad, a senior official of Telanganas' archaeology and museums department said on Wednesday. The bone ornaments were found in Narmetta area, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, during excavations conducted at different sites from March to May this year by the department, its director N R Visalatchy said. Shaped precisely like a rhombus with round holes in the middle and circular indentations, these are thought to have been used as jewellery.

Samples of the artefacts are being analysed at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. "The ornaments are basically cut bone pieces, but (are) very precisely cut, all of equal shape, design, which in the 100 years of history of the department of archaeology and museums we have never come across," she said. Capstone found Along with the bone ornaments, officials of the State Department of Archaeology and Museums (DAM) also unearthed one of the biggest capstones in the region. The stone, weighing about 42 tonnes, had to be moved using a crane. The capstone (a large flat stone) was in the shape of an "anthropomorphic (having human characteristics) figure," said Visalatchy. The bone ornaments show that the technology prevailed even then to precisely cut the bones and the mathematical sense to make them of a precise size, she said. "It also implies a certain sense of aesthetics.

(They are) clear geometrical figures with exact size. There was a certain sense of calculation, certain technology, aestheticism involved," the official said. The scientific analysis of the bone pieces would throw more light on its different aspects, she said, adding that its carbon dating (determination of age or date of organic matter) would also be done. "2000 BC to 500 AD is the timeline (as to how old the bone pieces are)," she said, adding that a skeleton with a skull was found at another burial site. "This will be a boost to us in having a scientific approach towards the understanding of the megalithic culture," she said. The department, one of the oldest in the country, had undertaken many excavations in the past, she added.

- http://www.oneindia.com/india/4000-year-old-bone-jewels-capstone-found-near-hyderabad-2518214.html, August 10, 2017

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Reinventing Sanjhi art, a unique form of paper craft

Mohan Kumar Verma, a resident of Mathura, knows that he belongs to a very minuscule tribe of craftsmen who are still chiselling paper into objects of art. He, being a fourth generation artist, is trying to conserve and revive Sanjhi, the art of hand cutting stencils from paper to create patterns on the floor. Growing up amidst a family that carefully crafted beautiful designs, it was a natural progression to pick up the tools and start learning all by himself at 11 years of age. Now in his 40s and having seen Sanjhi fading into oblivion, he has now started designing using mirrors, frames and more intricate forms that is in sync with the aesthetics of modern times. The same is being showcased at Sanjhi Revisited: A splendid exhibition of a unique paper art, at India Habitat Centre.

As one enters the visual art gallery at IHC, multi-coloured paper cuttings shaped in buildings showcasing Mughal architecture, temples and ghats in Mathura adorn the wall, leaving the visitors awestruck. The delicate motifs narrate tale of a handful of artisans hanging on the lofts of the ancient art form in a rapidly transitioning world. "This has been our source of livelihood for centuries.

I learnt it from my grandfather and after years of practice, attained the perfection of a traditional craftier,"he says. Sanjhi came into prominence during the 16th and 17th centuries when it was used to decorate walls and floors of temples and finds its origins in Mathura. Verma and his team is being helped by Delhi Crafts Council in taking Sanjhi far and wide, a dream for them. Another artist Ram Soni, who hails from a family of jewellers, shares that his family has been designing Sanjhi for over three centuries now, and have been conducting workshops across the country to tell people the rich heritage they possess. Radhika Bharat Ram, honorary general secretary, DCC and curator of the show says, "We are supporting them in designing and marketing new products for this remarkably versatile craft."

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-reinventing-sanjhi-art-a-unique-form-of-paper-craft-2526332, August 11, 2017

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Inside India’s first Partition Museum

Seventy years and two days after India won independence from British rule in 1947, the Partition Museum opens in Amritsar on 17 August. The city is best known for the Sikhs’ most holy shrine, the Golden Temple, which draws more visitors than the Taj Mahal. Just 15 minutes’ drive away is the border with Pakistan and, beyond that, it is a 30-minute drive to Lahore. The museum is an apt location to take a close look at a moment in history that continues to be sensitive for both Indians and Pakistanis and debated globally by historians. When India won freedom on 15 August 1947, two big chunks of land to the east and west of it were not included within its boundaries. They became a new country, Pakistan (the eastern part later broke off to become Bangladesh). There were therefore two new international India-Pakistan borders. Over the next six months it is generally accepted that some 10–14 million people, terrified by the possible consequences of living under governments unsympathetic to their religion, migrated across those borders amid horrendous rioting, bloodshed and rape, to become refugees.

At least a further 800,000 were brutally killed. It was probably the largest and most violent human migration in history outside war or famine. It resulted in epic displacement recorded by, among others, the news photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. To this day, the wounds are not fully healed. The reason for the museum’s opening date, 17 August, is poignant. On Independence Day, 15 August, the hastily-assembled Boundary Commission – led by the British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe and tasked with equitably dividing 175,000 square miles of territory containing 88 million people - had not finalised their decisions on the precise border lines. That came two days later. So, on Independence Day itself several million people had no idea to which country they belonged. It is a brave group who attempts to set out for public consumption the pre- and post-partition story in a way that might be acceptable to all sides.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT), a UK non-profit taking inspiration from Holocaust museums around the world, has led the project, working with the government of Punjab state and the London School of Economics whose founders Sidney and Beatrice Webb initiated a long-lasting close bond with India on their visit in 1911–12. The British Library is among the advisors. Financing is through donations. In 2016 there was a low-key opening of the museum, probably a wise decision. Now, confident it has hit the right note, the museum has its formal inauguration.

With some irony, it is housed in Amritsar’s handsome British-built Town Hall (completed 1870), whose recent restoration is part of an extravagant beautification of the ancient walled city, apparently partly inspired by the Vatican City’s arrangements for visitors. The huge marble-paved Heritage Street starts at the Town Hall, takes in the infamous Jallianwala Bagh (site of the shameful 1919 massacre by the British), statues of Sikh hero Ranjit Singh and other local heroes, some cleaned-up bazaars, and ends with the climactic experience of the Golden Temple complex, one of the most serene places in all of India. Amritsar’s core now sparkles for the 440th anniversary of its founding by the fourth Sikh guru, Ram Das, in 1577. The soft opening of one string of rooms in the Partition Museum gave a glimpse of how carefully the museum is tackling its subject.

Avoiding sentimentality and judgement, the displays feature documents, photographs, short films and objects that allow the events and people to speak for themselves. Radcliffe’s dilemma is recorded with maps showing optional border lines, his own reports and, most fascinating of all, a much later interview with him as an old man considering whether he could have made different decisions. There are Governor-General Mountbatten’s surprisingly insightful reports, photographs of vacant-eyed refugees, and plain-speaking oral histories. The simplicity and directness made these opening displays a powerful experience which the much bigger completed museum may well amplify.

The museum’s director, Kishwar Desai, is clear about the museum’s aims. It is not merely to examine the pre- and post-partition era through the memories of the people, to record the losses and sorrows of the great divide which led to mass killings and displacement. Desai has a greater goal, too. She wants the museum to educate all people on the long-lasting perils of a tragedy that was neither inevitable nor necessary. A timely reminder.

- https://www.apollo-magazine.com/inside-indias-first-partition-museum/, August 11, 2017

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War Museum inaugurated in Dharamshala

As the nation celebrates 75th anniversary of the historic quit India movement also known as 'August Kranti', chief minister Virbhadra Singh dedicated Rs 9.85 crore 'War Museum' at Dharamshala to the people and laid the foundation stone of freedom fighters memorial at Dari. Spread over a total area of 2190 square meters, the outer part of museum displays the statue of General Zorawar Singh and murals of heroic deeds. The inner hall houses busts of Vir Chakra awardees, Jamadar Bhandan Ram and Jamadar Lala with write ups of their legend on the wall in golden background. The busts of Param Vir and Vir Chakras include those of Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, aptain Vikram Batra, Major Sudhir Walia, Hony. Captain Sanjay Kumar. The Museum also houses photo gallery of all PVC recipients of the country besides medals of various gallantry award recipients including Victoria Cross, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra etc. There is also Ashoka Pillar of dimension 5x2 feet besides Pakistan captured flag, regimental flags, Medium Machine Guns etc.

However, request has been sent to the Government of India for MIG-21 and display of other warfare machinery, said the representatives of 'State Martyrs Memorial Service and Development Society' so as to give rightful attention to these revered and cherished monuments. Virbhadra Singh said that War Museum is a reminder of the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh, right from recipients of Victoria cross to Parmveer Chakra. He said that museum would provide a peep, a flashback to learn and know about the Nations first Param Vir Chakra recipient, the highest gallantry awardee, Major Somnath Sharma to late Captain Bikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia, and others who laid their lives for the sake of the Nation.

"I salute the valiant men and women of Himachal who became Martyrs and their families as well who equally contributed for sake of the country in one way or other right down from freedom struggle till date," he said. Recalling valour of Kargil war heroes, he said that numerous sacrifices were made by soldiers from Himachal Pradesh and 52 brave sons from the soil of Himachal got martyrdom. These heroes will find mention in this War Museum to keep their sacrifices alive for generations to come and know about their valour.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/war-museum-inaugurated-in-dharamshala/articleshow/60006627.cms, August 11, 2017

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Why monetising heritage may be the key to keeping it safe

A couple of weeks after the great Russian artist Nicholas Roerich passed away in Himachal Pradesh, an exhibition of his works was held in Delhi. It was late December 1947 and India was independent. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came for the inauguration. "I hope that when we are a little freer from the cares of the moment, we shall pay very special attention to the ancient cultural monuments of the country, not only just to protect them from decay but somehow to bring them more in line with our education, with our lives, so that we may imbibe something of the inspiration that they have," Pandit Nehru said while inaugurating the exhibition. A profound expression of intent, one would think. At that point in 1947, there were 2,826 protected monuments in India. Yet governmental apathy towards them was of monumental proportions. Nehru was reminded of this by many events and people. Leela Shiveshwarkar, an author and a leading designer of that time, had written an article in The Times of India in 1949 in which she had called this negligence "inexcusable". And no, she wasn't willing to buy the PM's argument that there were more pressing concerns.

"The government must take immediate steps to do all that is possible for these monuments. Let it not be said that there are other more pressing problems. There can be no other problem in relation to time more pressing than this. These are the only things which India can look back to as her rightful heritage, and if these are lost through sheer neglect, what else is left?" Shiveshwarkar had said in her piece. Two years later, Parliament passed the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951, and added 450 other monuments to the previous list. Nehru had kept his word. But the inadequacy of the legislation was discovered soon, as Parliament had to sanction every new inclusion in the list. An amendment Bill was proposed. While debating it in 1953, Congress MP from Madras, K Rama Rao, liked the Bill for its "judicious mixture of tombs and temples", but wondered how the archaeology department was helping Nehru in his "discovery of India every day".

The 1951 law was repealed and a new one enacted as The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, followed by a set of rules in 1959. This was the most comprehensive legislation for the protection of heritage. Then in 2010, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act came about as an amendment to the principal Act. Among many things, this amendment introduced the concept of prohibited and regulated zones. And it's this concept that the Modi government wants to amend to allow "public works" in the prohibited zone of 100 metres of a protected monument. The prohibition clause has been a contentious issue since the 2010 amendment, with many arguing that heritage buildings act as obstacles to development. A general impression was thus wrongly created that heritage and modernity are contradictory.

That this clause is now up for amendment shows that this gulf is deemed unbridgeable. "Heritage and modernity can coexist to enrich the character of urban space. The adaptive reuse of historical structures could be financially sustainable too," said Tathagata Neogi, a British-trained archaeologist who now conducts heritage walks in Kolkata. To illustrate his point, he gave the example of South Park Street Cemetery in Kolkata. "It is suffering from an acute lack of funds. Although they have recently started a ticketing system, more can be done to generate revenue. This cemetery, containing more than 1,600 graves of eclectic architecture, could be converted into an open-air, nuanced museum of colonialism using cutting-edge technology like augmented reality," Neogi said. He continued, "Many old buildings in north Kolkata are crumbling due to lack of maintenance.

Some of these families do not want to give up their ancestral homes, but lack the training and resources to maintain them. What if we can train them and show them how to make their properties profitable?" Neogi also said that old structures could be turned into "offices, shopping centres or themed restaurants without pulling them down and building characterless new concrete, steel and glass structures". Delhi, for all its abundance of heritage, strangely, has very few heritage hotels, resorts and homestays. That raises the fundamental question: can heritage be monetised in Delhi? "A very good question. I really think this needs to be pursued urgently in Delhi," said Swapna Liddle, convenor of Intach Delhi Chapter.

"A good starting point has to be for all stakeholders to have a dialogue. It is important for owners of heritage buildings to not only be aware of their responsibilities and the development restrictions their properties are subject to, but to be informed of the incentives and benefits that the state can give them. The latter must of course be first spelt out and formulated—tax exemptions, loans for conservation, technical advice, and the ability to change the use to commercial purposes, subject to the use not being such as will damage the heritage character of the building." Neogi also stressed on the need to have a "more accommodating urban development policy that goes beyond the simple binary of heritage versus development". This should be Delhi's, nay India's pressing concern.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/why-monetising-heritage-may-be-the-key-to-keeping-it-safe/articleshow/60077703.cms, August 16, 2017

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Walk down memory lane at Amritsar's Partition Museum

A first-of-its-kind 'Partition Museum' bringing alive memories of the Independence era in the form of photos, artefacts and documents was today inaugurated in this historic city - the transit point of the massive migration on both sides of the border in 1947. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh inaugurated the museum, a tribute to the sacrifices of thousands of people who lost their lives and homes in the partition, with a call for learning lessons from history to ensure that such an event is never repeated in any part of the world. "And without their past and knowing that past and understanding their past and learning from the past, no nation can move ahead," he said on the occasion. Amarinder unveiled the plaque of the museum at a special commemoration ceremony which scripted the observation of August 17 as the 'Partition Remembrance Day'.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT), a NGO, whose chairperson is author, columnist Kishwar Desai, is behind setting up of the museum. A minute's silence was observed after the ringing of a bell at the historic Town Hall, where the museum has been built. The chief minister dedicated the museum, developed in collaboration with the state government, to the nation. Amarinder lauded the efforts of Lord Meghnad Desai, who is on the board of patrons of the museum, in giving shape to the museum, which "recreated a very sad chapter of our history." The chief minister said while for the younger generation, those days of the partition had been reduced to statistics, those who went through it had many grim memories of those times. The museum, he said, would help the youngsters actually see and experience one of the greatest migrations in history.

He recalled his own memories of the partition, when, as a young boy of 5 years, he was coming home from his boarding school in Shimla in a train and had pushed the curtain aside to see bodies lying at one of the stations. "It is a memory still etched in my mind," he added. The chief minister also recalled the work done by his mother, Rajmata Mohinder Kaur, who passed away recently in Patiala, to help facilitate return of refugee girls back to their homes. He recalled how her memory of those days was that many of the girls forcibly sent back home were happily settled in their new homes across the border and did not want to leave their children and families "but were forced to do so following an agreement by the governments of India and Pakistan in 1952." Amarinder later walked around the museum in what he described as a memorable experience.

The Punjab government, which has supported the construction of the museum, has already declared 17th of August as ’Partition Remembrance Day’. Earlier, addressing the gathering, Punjab's Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu described the museum as the story of human resolve and resilience, as well as the indomitable human spirit. The museum had revived history which was getting lost in the sands of time, he said. The event was was marked by a poetry recital by noted poet and lyricist Gulzar, who launched his newly translated book, Footprints on Zero Line: Writings on the Partition, on the occasion. The occasion was also marked by a series of events, including panel discussions with eminent experts such as Urvashi Butalia and poet Surjit Patar, a short play on partition by Kahaniwala, and Sufi music recital by the Hashmat Sultana sisters.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/aug/17/walk-down-memory-lane-at-amritsars-partition-museum-1644465--1.html, August 17, 2017

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Documents of Sikh Gurus’ times, rare books digitized

The digitisation of rare manuscripts, books, and handwritten documents belonging to Sikh Gurus’ times and Punjab’s rich cultural heritage at the Sikh Research Library and Museum has been completed by the Khalsa College authorities. The project is now in its second phase for digitisation of other aspects of the library and museum. The authorities had initiated the project to save the rare historic items from decaying. The library was established in 1930 and is a treasure trove of historical documents dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It houses more than 6,274 books which include rare books in English and Punjabi and there are hundreds of manuscripts and documents in Urdu, Sanskrit and Persian also apart from newspapers and magazines as old as 1904 and some of the books are available only here.

The museum is soon going to be shifted to a new building under construction. The department has also the holy book, The Ramayana, written in Punjabi apart from a rare collection of newspaper printed in the pre-Partition and the post-Partition era. A few printed copies of The Tribune going back to 1904 and 1947 have also been preserved and digitised under the new system. The place also has vintage war instruments, photographs of a gurdwara based in Lahore and other places besides evidences of Anglo-Indian wars. Dr Inderjit Singh, in charge of the Sikh Research Library and Museum, said, “We are done with digitisation of our manuscripts and books. Other things are under process. We have a number of scholars who have been studying the Sikh culture. This transformation of matter will be a boost for them. More than 3,00,000 pages have been digitised.” The college authorities have roped in a Jalandhar-based software company to develop the project further.

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/documents-of-sikh-gurus-times-rare-books-digitised/453551.html, August 17, 2017

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Panel mooted for conserving heritage structures

The state government has proposed a Heritage Conservation Committee to ensure protection of heritage buildings in Bengaluru, a move conservationists are cheering. The proposal is part of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Common Building Bye-Laws 2017, which the state government is finalising. The 13-member committee, proposed to be headed by the BBMP commissioner, will be tasked with identifying and listing out heritage sites, structures and precincts (area) that need conservation, regulation and management. More importantly, the committee will vet all projects that may impact a heritage structure. The committee will also have structural engineers, architects, historians, artists, a representative of the Indian Heritage Cities Network among others. “If the regulation was in effect, the Murphy Town library would not have been razed,” Town and Country Planning director L Shashikumar said. The 104-year-old library was demolished recently to make way for an Indira Canteen.

“These regulations will help authorities identify and preserve local importance of heritage structures,” he added. The committee will identify heritage sites based on 12 criteria that include architectural, historical and cultural reasons, periodicity, relevance to social or economic history, association with well-known persons or events and so on. The committee will also classify heritage structures into grades I, II and III. “There are three types of heritage buildings - those declared by the Archaeological Survey of India, those declared by the State Archaeology Department and the local monuments that are not at all listed. These regulations will help local authorities identify and grade them,” town planning expert Shantappa Honnur said. “This will be a road map for heritage conservation.” The bye-laws also make provision for a Heritage Fund that may be used to take up repairs of heritage buildings.

Bengaluru’s track record in heritage conservation is dismal. In 1985, the city had 823 iconic heritage buildings, according to the first such inventory the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) prepared for the erstwhile Bangalore Urban Arts Commission. When Intach revisited the inventory last year, the number had reduced to 354. “The Committee and grading of heritage buildings have been long pending and we are happy that the government is heading in this direction,” former Intach convenor Sathya Prakash Varanashi said. “The only worry is that operational mechanisms for grading and listing have to be worked out. It shouldn’t become another ward committee fraught with lack of clarity,” he opined.

- http://www.deccanherald.com/content/628631/panel-mooted-conserving-heritage-structures.html, August 17, 2017

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RSCL TO CREATE ‘HERITAGE WALK ‘ IN RAIPUR CITY

Raipur Smart City Ltd (RSCL) will create a ‘Heritage Walk’ besides upgrading “Shaheed Smarak” by renovating the facade of the structure and also develop the vast and unutilised podium level as an evening market in the city, officials informed. Additionally, organised parking facilities are intended to be developed in the open space available at ground floor, they informed. Notably, Raipur is selected as one of the Smart City Projects under Smart City Mission which has a rich cultural and built heritage. Raipur would also be put under a ‘retrofitting plan’ covering 500 acres of land to provide facilities not present so far under the Smart City Mission, officials informed. Notably, Raipur city was selected among 100 cities to be developed as smart city in India due to various achievements, initiatives and all-inclusive approach. Accordingly Raipur city had submitted “Smart City Proposal” (SCP) for Raipur City to Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India with required consent of Government of Chhattisgarh and statutory authority of Raipur Smart City. The city of Raipur has been selected to be developed into a smart city under the fast track mode of first phase of the Smart Cities Mission.

The Smart City Proposal of Raipur includes the smart city solutions which involve the use of technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services within the city of Raipur (The Smart Solutions Projects). Raipur City is to promote Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) with dedicated pedestrianised corridors and enhanced ‘walk ability’ options. This was stated in the ‘Smart City Proposal’ for Raipur submitted during Stage II of the ‘Smart City Challenge’ of India Smart City Mission of the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The NMT mode had been focussed to bring pollution levels further down in the city, officials informed.

The citizens of Raipur foresee themselves living in environmentally clean, socially cohesive, sustainable, using renewable energy sources, utilising scientific water and waste management, employingsmart transportationand a safe city with a responsive ‘Smart Governance Framework’, the document mentioned. The Union Ministry of Urban Development has taken up ‘Transit Oriented Development’ (TOD) in Naya Raipur besides Ahmedabad, Delhi (Kakardooma), Nagpur and Navi Mumbai, the Central Government has informed. The Ministry would like this to be expanded to other cities as well, it informed. To effectively address the emerging urbanisation challenges, the Union Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a multi-pronged policy framework to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors, the Ministry informed. This new initiative seeks to promote TOD which enables people to live within walking or cycling distance from transit corridors like the Metros, Monorail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, currently being taken up on a large scale.

The Ministry has formulated a ‘National Transit Oriented Development Policy’ which will be discussed with the States and Union Territories at a National Workshop on Urban Development to be held on Tuesday next week. This policy seeks to enhance the depth of understanding of States and UTs on TOD as a viable solution to many of the challenges like haphazard urban growth and sprawl, mobility, rapidly rising private vehicles on roads, pollution, housing choices etc. This new urban design and planning in the form of TOD, is being incentivised by the Union Ministry under two more initiatives viz, Metro Policy and Green Urban Mobility Scheme which also will be discussed with States and UTS for taking them on board. Under TOD, city densification will be promoted along mass transit corridors through vertical construction by substantially enhancing FARs (Floor Area Ratio) backed by promotion of Non-motorised TransportInfrastructure for walking and cycling to transport stations, development of street networks in the influence zone of transit corridors, multi-modal integration, effective first and last mile connectivity through feeder services to enable people access public transit in 5 to 10 minutes from home and work places.

Dense living along transit corridors besides resulting in enhanced living and travel experience, will also improve ridership of mass transit systems. If properly executed, TOD could emerge as a means of financing mass transit project, for which the demand is growing. TOD promotes integration of land use planning with transportation and infrastructure development to avoid long distance travel in cities through compact development as against the present pattern of unplanned and haphazard urban growth. Under the new Metro Policy, TOD has been mandatory while under Green Urban Mobility Scheme, TOD has been made an essential reform and is given priority for receiving central assistance. The Ministry’s initiative comes in the context of over 300 km of Metro lines being operational in seven cities, another 600 kms of metro line projects under construction in 12 cities and over 500 km projects under consideration. The Ministry has supported BRTS projects in 12 cities which are under different stages of progress and eight more cities are set to take up BRT projects.

Mass Rail Transit System of 380 km length is being taken up in Delhi. Transit Oriented Development will be financed by channelising a part of increases in property values resulting from investments in transit corridors through Betterment Levies and Value Capture Financing tools. Increased private sector participation will result in economic development and employment generation. TOD Policy also aims at inclusive development by ensuring mixed neighbourhood development in the form of a range of housing choices including affordable housing and ensuring spaces for street vendors. The Chhattisgarh Government will encourage use of public transport by way of allowing more density along the public transport corridors which makes public transport financially sustainable and on the other hand, reduces the usage of personal vehicles in its new capital city, officials here informed.

The concept of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is being adopted to make Naya Raipur a sustainable city. To construct bus shelters within walkable range from the sectors, to connect the sectors and BRT shelters with cycle tracks and walkways, to design the shelters with facilities of bicycle parking thereby reducing the emission of green house gases, congestion on roads and reducing accidents. On the other hand, notably, the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) has plans of developing a ‘Transport Hub’ spread over an area of 161.9 hectares in the new capital city. The Raipur Smart City Project is promising 24x7 water supply to the residents when ready. Improvement and revamping of existing water supply, transmission and Distribution Network under ‘Mor Raipur City Center Area’ (MRCC) will be done through PPP model on DBOT basis , officials informed. Currently, Raipur is supplied 277 MLD of water from various sources. The population of Raipur as per 2011 Census is 10,26,539. Considering current population as 12 lakh, the average per capita supply in Raipur is about 200 lpcd, supplied intermittently for a period of 2-3 hours per day mostly. The MRCC area receives 11 MLD and its current population is about 67000.

At present, water from 4 ESRs (Motibagh, Ganj, Deven Nagar, and Tank No.7) are serving the Area Based Developmnt (ABD) Area of Raipur. The total number of house service connections in ABD area is around 6700, currently there are many type of loses in the Water Supply Distribution Network, which includes loses due to pilferages, leakages in lines etc. The Smart City Proposals includes area based proposal for a particular area (Mor Raipur City Central or MRCC Area) which will be developed into a smart area, thereby improving liveability of the whole city (the “Area Based Development Project”). The ABD area considered for retrofit and redevelopment model development is 777 acres. It is predominantly commercial with equal presence of wholesale and retail. The area contains 3 significant water bodies, sports infrastructure, households, and a plethora of heritage areas too.

MRCC is envisaged as a transformational project converting the Raipur urban heart into a Clean, Connected, Cohesive and Credible Raipur; A project replicable in other parts of Raipur as well as other smart cities of the State. The Government of Chhattisgarh has formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Raipur Smart City Limited (RSCL) to plan, design, implement, coordinate and monitor the smart city projects in Raipur. RSCL is an unlisted Public company incorporated on 16 September, 2016 and is incorporated under Indian Companies Act 2013. As a part of the Smart City Development, RSCL has decided to improve water supply situation in MRCC area through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis. The main objectives are: To achieve 24x7 water supply in MRCC area or its part(s)-- To achieve adequate pressures in the system, To reduce NRW to less than 15%., Quality of Water to be as per IS 10500., To implementsmart Billing, Collection and SCADA System., Operation· & Maintenance of the total scheme for a period of 10 years. CCTV surveillance to curb crimes and nab traffic offenders would become a norm in Raipur city with the implementation of Smart City plans, officials informed.

- http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/raipur/rscl-to-create-heritage-walk--in-raipur-city.html, August 18, 2017

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