Only 80 watchmen to guard 375 state-protected monuments in Maharashtra

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Aurangabad | Published: December 10, 2019 5:39:04 PM

In view of the state government's "strict" policy for recruitments, many of these monuments have no guards for security during the night hours, a senior official from the department told PTI.

Maharashtra, Maharashtra monuments, Maharashtra archaeological sites, Maharashtra historical monuments, Maharashtra tourist monumentsState forts conservation committee member Bhagwan Chile said as a first step, all monuments should have compound walls, and entry and exit gates. (IE)

The Maharashtra archaeology department is running short of manpower as it has only 80 watchmen to guard 375 protected monuments across the state, an official said on Tuesday. In view of the state government’s “strict” policy for recruitments, many of these monuments have no guards for security during the night hours, a senior official from the department told PTI.

“Nearly 375 historical monuments in Maharashtra come under the jurisdiction of the state archaeology department. The state does not have enough manpower to monitor these monuments round-the-clock,” he said. The archaeology department has only 80 watchmen to look after 375 monuments in state, he said, adding that these staff members are also retiring fast.

There is a need to have at least one watchman per monument, the official said. “With eight hours of duty and four hours’ overtime, one watchman can guard a monument. But since we have less manpower, it is tough to keep an eye on all these state-protected monuments,” the official said. Some forts in the Marathwada region are spread over an area of five km, he noted.

State forts conservation committee member Bhagwan Chile said as a first step, all monuments should have compound walls, and entry and exit gates. He said the archaeology department has always got less preference in terms of fund allocations. People should fight for the protection of monuments in their respective areas and NGOs should come forward to take this responsibility, the Kolhapur-based official said.

Historian Prabhakar Dev from Nanded said such a worrying state of affairs does not happen in a day. “The state government has always neglected the archaeology department and monuments. We only remember forts located in the Sahyadri mountain range, but we forget that there are other beautiful monuments in the state built during the period of Chalukya, Vakataka and Rashtrakuta dynasties,” he said.

These monuments are a national treasure and manpower should be made available for their security, he said. Heritage activist Bandu Dhotre from Chandrapur said it is not fair to treat a monument like a government office. “In an office, we can hand over charge of one table to another, but such a thing is not possible with monuments. My experience is that if a care-taker is deployed, a monument will remain clean and tidy also,” he said. Hence, one guard per monument is the minimum requirement, he added.

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