UNESCO rejects reports of including a 106-year-old astronomical observatory in endangered heritage list

The first of its kind in India, the observatory was established in the Langat Singh College of the district in 1916 to educate students in details on astronomy.

UNESCO rejects reports of including a 106-year-old astronomical observatory in endangered heritage list
Langat Singh College (Photo: Twitter/Bihar Foundation)

In a significant development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has rejected reports of a 106-year-old astronomical observatory in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district being included in the list of endangered heritage.

The world body has made its clarification after a number of reports suggested the observatory was included in the list of endangered heritage observatories across the globe. The first of its kind in India, the observatory was established in the Langat Singh College of the district in 1916 to educate students in details on astronomy.

Issuing a statement, UNESCO said that after reports of the observatory being included in the endangered list, the New Delhi office of the world body would like to to clarify that no such inscription of the UNESCO has taken place. It further observed that the government has to add the observatory in its tentative list first, before being included in the World Heritage list. However,the same is not the case with the observatory.

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This statement was signed by Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO Office, New Delhi.Headquartered in the French capital of Paris, UNESCO plays a crucial role in promoting art, culture and heritage and also helps in preserving them.

It further, “The selection criteria for sites are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage.”. It was in 1899 that Langat Singh College , which is now affiliated to Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University, was established.

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Speaking to PTI, college principal Dr O P Roy had earlier said that apart from the observatory a planetarium was set up in 1946. However after 1970, both the planetarium as well as the observatory started to decline. Most machines were also either lost or started becoming junk.

Few years back, the state government also assured the college of providing support for its restoration. However nothing was done yet.

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