Preserving Heritage: India’s Bid to Safeguard Maratha Forts from Encroachment

Government Initiatives Aim to Secure UNESCO Recognition Amidst Concerns Over Historic Landmarks

In a bid to commemorate India’s rich historical legacy, the central government has nominated 12 forts, emblematic of Maratha military prowess, for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list for 2024-25. However, as officials conduct inspections, alarming reports of encroachments threaten the integrity of these iconic landmarks.

India’s Historic Nominees:

  • The 12 nominated forts, including Shivneri, Lohgad, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg, Salher, Rajgad, Khanderi, Pratapgad, and Jinji, stand as testaments to the Maratha empire’s military acumen and strategic significance. Spearheaded by a committee chaired by the state’s chief secretary, efforts are underway to secure UNESCO recognition for these architectural marvels.

Encroachment Concerns:

  • Despite their historical significance, encroachments have marred the sanctity of these forts, with families establishing residences and commercial ventures encroaching upon their surroundings. Urgent action is imperative to mitigate these encroachments and safeguard the heritage value of these sites.

Government’s Preservation Strategy:

  • A recent meeting convened at the Pune Collectorate underscored the gravity of the situation, with officials deliberating on strategies to combat encroachments and adhere to UNESCO guidelines. District Collector Dr. Suhas Diwase emphasized the need for a robust management plan to facilitate the preservation of these forts.

Path Forward:

  • Post-Lok Sabha elections, efforts to address encroachments will intensify, with re-inspections slated before the monsoon season. Allocation of funds from both central and state governments underscores the commitment to preserving India’s cultural heritage, with district planning expenses earmarked for this purpose.

As India races against time to secure UNESCO recognition for its historic forts, concerted efforts are underway to combat encroachments and ensure the preservation of these architectural marvels for generations to come.

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