The Punjab chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has expressed grave concern over gradual “disappearance' of heritage sites” that are not listed as “protected” and has called for framing a law to preserve such sites.
The view was expressed by Sukhdev Singh, convener of the Punjab chapter of INTACH, while speaking at a seminar organised jointly by INTACH and the Amritsar Bar Association (ABA) at the district courts complex here on Saturday on the occasion of World Heritage Day.
The seminar commenced with advocate Suneet Singh of the Punjab and Haryana high court giving an overview of ‘Heritage Regulations for Punjab and the need for protecting heritage sites’. The INTACH Punjab chapter has already proposed some of the points highlighted by the advocate to the Punjab government for discussion and legislation.
Explaining the need for such regulations, Suneet Singh said, “So far, there is no law that can provide legal protection and preservation to the unprotected heritage buildings, sites, precincts or zones. This is essential in view of projects on development in the old/ historical cities.”
He pointed out the objective of Heritage Regulations was to safeguard the heritage of Punjab’s cities, towns and villages, while regulating interventions and development activities that have an impact on the heritage. “The regulations shall apply to all urban and rural heritage sites, which are not listed as protected and are not under purview of the Archaeological Survey of India or the Punjab archeological departments,” he added.
“The state government shall list, grade and notify such buildings, sites, zones and precincts etc. under these Regulations,” he opined.
Sukhdev Singh said, “Punjab has a very rich cultural heritage and there is a need to conserve it for the coming generations so that they can connect with their roots, while enjoying development and adapting to change.
Clarifying about the objectives of conservation, he said: “Identification and conservation of cultural heritage does not mean halting all developmental activities.”
“Conservation and preservation do not mean bringing all development activities to standstill and not accepting change. While bring about changes, the heritage must be protected for the coming generations,” he added.