ASI to tighten noose around pvt collectors
The law intends to check smuggling of antiquities and sensitise people towards their heritage, reports Reena Sopam.Updated: Apr 13, 2007, 22:15 IST
With the increasing cases of antiquities’ theft from temples and other public places in Bihar, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Patna circle is set to tighten noose around private collectors.
The ASI has asked them to get their collections registered with the registering officer at the ASI office within a fortnight and in the case of failure legal notices would be served on the defaulters.
Under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 the antiquities should be registered and a registering officer should be appointed. The law intends to check smuggling of antiquities and sensitise people towards their heritage.
ASI superintending archaeologist, Dr PK Mishra said the violation of the Act was a punishable offence inviting fine or two years imprisonment.
“Even as there is no government record of thousands of antiquities in private collection, a number of rare pieces is lying in the open at Chechar near Hajipur. Now the private collectors have been asked to come forward for registration. In case of violation, legal notices would be served on them,” Mishra said.
The ASI had recently appointed a registering officer, as the post of state registering officer had been vacant for past several years, he added.
Madhuri Agrawal, former registering officer of the state archaeology department, said five registration centres at Patna, Ranchi, Gaya, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur were set up in the undivided Bihar in 70s.
“After a few years all of them were closed except the Patna office due to poor response. This was despite the fact that villages in Vaishali, Gaya, Nalanda and others had hundreds of antiquities lying even under the roadside trees,” she said.
At some places stiff opposition had to be faced. “Antiquities were installed in the temples or were worshipped under the trees in the open.
At a village near Chandil, people got agitated over the idea of deposition of the idol for registration and despite the presence of police force the truck hired for the purpose had to return empty,” she said.
ASI’s registering officer, Vijay Shankar said for registration of the antiquities private collectors needed to bring three big size photographs of antiquities.