What are you doing about the staff crunch?
We are restructuring the whole organisation and systematically filling posts from archaeologists to attendants and security people. We are looking at Sainik boards — welfare organisations — for recruiting guards for monuments.
You have outsourced conservation. What has been your experience?
Some experiments with outsourcing, such as for Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi to the Agha Khan Trust for Culture, have been very satisfying. But ultimately, it has to be case-specific.
Experts say you don’t have enough labs and up-to-date facilities.
We are looking at collaborating with other government institutions, such as the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata.
Why not harness available expertise and dovetail it with the requirements of archaeology?
In 2006, the country learnt that 35 protected sites and monuments had disappeared due to urbanisation.
How do you stop encroachment and vandalisation?
We don’t have enough people to guard all our monuments. Hopefully this will change as we hire more people. It is important to maintain the ambience of the monument, but urbanisation and implementing the rules are complex issues.
What is your main challenge in your 150th year?
The most important task is to involve common people in our mission. Archaeology is too important a subject to be managed by professional archaeologists alone.