Ministry of Culture seeks partnership with Google to map heritage sites

There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

New Delhi:

Leveraging state-of-the-art technology, the Ministry of Culture has considered a plan to digitally map the boundaries of more than 3,600 centrally protected monuments for greater security and control of encroachments through enhanced surveillance of these sites.

Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy has said tech giant Google could help the government do the job, and talks between the ministry and the search engine giant are planned.

There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which falls under the jurisdiction of the ministry.

Continuing the decade-long partnership between the Ministry of Culture and Google, a project named ‘India ki Udaan’ was unveiled at a glittering event at the Sunder nursery here on Friday evening to mark the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ , which captures several milestones reached by India during its 75-year journey since independence, as well as the legacy of iconic personalities.

The project, executed by Google Arts & Culture, celebrates the country’s achievements, and is “on the theme of India’s unwavering and undying spirit over the past 75 years”. It draws from rich archives and presents artistic illustrations to tell the story of the country. In his address at the event, G Kishan Reddy also said that Google could help the Ministry of Culture digitally map the boundaries of its more than 3,600 centrally protected monuments, which will help better monitoring of the sites. and verifying any encroachment.

Google can also help digitize rare archival material, he said.

“Therefore, we urge the Google team to be a partner in the government’s transformative journey, as well as promote India’s tourist destinations,” said G Kishan Reddy.

Speaking later to the PTI on the sidelines of the event, the Minister for Labor Culture said, “A lot of manpower is needed to monitor the sites. So, with technology, we can easily map sites for security purposes and to check for encroachments.”

G Kishan Reddy said what the ministry envisions is that through advanced technology these sites can be monitored from the headquarters in New Delhi.

“So we can watch every monument, and what’s going on there, sitting in Delhi. That’s what we want to do,” he said, adding that “they are going to meet us, and we will discuss in detail”.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has its headquarters in Delhi, hosted at Dharohar Bhawan headed by its Director General, and has circles at the regional level, headed by a chief archaeologist in each circle.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 (AMASR) was amended in 2010 to declare the 100 meter radius of protected monuments as prohibited areas and the next 300 meter radius as restricted areas. The protection of ASI sites is governed by this law. The union culture minister, in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha on August 1, had said that the ASI maintains protected monuments through its circles and “there is no provision for release funds to non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“ASI regularly undertakes the conservation and preservation of monuments and protected sites at the central level. private security,” he said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)