When it comes to bungling up their task, the Indian bureaucracy knows no bias. In fact, our champions of red tape don't believe in exerting their grey cells even when the issue at hand concerns something as significant as the Prime Minister’s constituency.
For the third time, UNESCO has returned India’s nomination for the river island of Majuli — situated midstream of the Brahmaputra in Assam — for inclusion in the World Heritage List. The nomination for the island, which has been languishing on UNESCO's ‘tentative’ list of world heritage sites since 2004, was found incomplete on three counts.
According to the latest letter from UNESCO, which came earlier this month, the primary reason was that only two copies of the nomination papers were sent — instead of the mandated three. Also, one of them lacked several sections that provide justifications for the nomination, and deal with management and protection of the proposed site. The letter, a copy of which is with HT, also found fault with the ‘authenticity and integrity column’ and cited the absence of an image inventory and authorisation form.
“It is shameful that the proposal for the Prime Minister's constituency has been rejected again, for the same reasons as the last two times,” said a conservationist. Significantly, during the January meeting of the Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters, Majuli was discussed as an additional proposal, along with Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat. On January 26, the members were told that the chairman had decided in favour of Rani Ki Vav. “It’s a mystery how Majuli was sent,” an official source said.
Shikha Jain, member secretary of the Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters, refused to term the UNESCO's response as a ‘rejection’. “We were very clear that the Majuli nomination would be made for 2013,” Jain said.