2nd Fort Conservation Workshop

Event

2nd Fort conservation workshop

Workshop Date

25th June 2006

Place

Potdar College, Dadar

Timing

10 am to 1 pm

Participants:

Around 30-40 individuals from different trekking groups

Invitee: ASI (Archeological Survey Of India) officer Mr. Bhalchandra Kulkarni

Around 10:30 we had a brief introduction by all the participants. Then Mr. Prasad Nikte gave details of the last workshop in brief. He also explained the topic for the second workshop, which was ASI (Archeological Survey of India). The discussion was divided in two parts:

I. Sharing of experience, problems related to ASI faced by the people

II. Guidance from the ASI officer- Mr. Bhalchandra Kulkarni

In the first part Shridatta Raut and Mangesh Koyande told about their trekking organization and the activities carried out by them. Some of the points put forth by them were discussed in the first workshop.

Sharing of experience, problems related to ASI faced by the people

1. Organisation: Shivgarjana, established in 1992 to work at the forts near Kalyan-Kasara.
Activities:

Ø Shramdan treks at Mahuli, Sarasgad, Sudhagad, Sahajgad, Tikona including activities like cleaning of water cisterns, Darvajas, caves

Ø After the accident at Kokan Kada the group has not taken up activities.

Suggestions:

Ø Support of local plays important role in conservation. Make local people aware of importance of plantation and take their help for taking care of the plants.

Ø Preference to plant the fruit trees and ask locals to take the benefit

Ø Networking among trekking group will play major role among activities like fort conservation

Ø Documentation will help people, students know facts about forts, heritage places in future


2. Mr. Shridatta Raut


Activities:

Ø Explored Vasai fort after HSC, met various people to collect details, facts about the fort.

Ø Drew maps with the help of friends involved in activities like photography, painting, sketching and a cousin who is civil draftsman

Ø Thorough documentation about the architect structure of the fort

Ø With almost 15-16 expeditions/visits to the fort almost 3500 photos have been collected

Ø Conducts Vasai fort conservation and awareness program regularly

Suggestions and response from other participants

Ø Facts about the forts need to be explored

Ø Information about the deployment of the funds available for the maintenance of Vasai fort and other forts in Sahyadri should be made available to people

Ø Explore the fort surrounding – the wells, the idols found in the wells

Ø Guidance from expertise regarding – how to keep place clean maintaining the basic structure

Ø Drawings made in British era are available but people need to find the same – Charmi

3. Mangesh Koyande

Member of ‘Girimitra Pratishthan’ – organization established in 1999

Activities

Ø Cleaning of water cisterns – at Dhak

Ø Had found vessels sufficient to cook food for 200 people in bigger cistern at Dhak, cleaned them. Put up board requesting people to use vessels, clean them and keep outside. Requested Poojari to inform the people but the efforts are in vain.

Ø Distribution of clothes, medical camps

Suggestions

Ø Flex banners, boards with information of forts to be put up

Ø Create awareness among people through slide shows – Anagha Bhat

Ø One can make slide shows in their schools – Rohan

4. Shekhar

Member of Sahyadri adventure club – involved in Pinnacle climbing but focus was not conservation

Suggestions

Ø Sustainable conservation activities need to be carried out

Ø UNESCO works at the international level

Ø ICOMOS associated with UNESCO – had meeting at Delhi

Ø Stressed that instead of scattered groups


Government + NGO + Local
è must work together for conservation

Ø Eco-tourism will help travel and tour agencies to earn but not the localites as the funds will flow to the cities

Ø First conservation and development activities should be carried out and then invite people to the places

Ø “ Save/Protect the existing structures” – the eco-tourism concept

5. Charmie – architect

She had done thesis on forts as part of final year project.

Proposal: Government aided center to be developed for fort conservation, which will server purpose-

Ø Information about forts available under single roof

Ø Seminar space will gave platform to someone who has studied forts, heritage monuments to put up information in front of the people


6. Bhalchandra Kulkarni – ASI officer


He is responsible for the ASI activities in the Konkan region. He has been studying the historical data and documenting current details.

Before the open forum Mr. Kulkarni gave information about ASI department and its activities in brief:

Ø There is archeology department for India and also for each of the individual states.

Ø Hindu Sanskriti is a continuous one with almost 5000 ye

ars old with lots of monuments all over country.

Ø The heritage monuments are categorized as

o Rashtriya Sanrakshit Smarak – under Central ASI
(monuments considered important on national level)

o State level ASI handling monuments excluded from national level

Ø For monuments with national level importance are maintained well and the detailed information about them is also easily available, and priority has been given to temple architectures.

Ø Gathering of historical details of forts and studying current status of the forts is important.

Ø While making any structural changes at the forts, temples one must remember to

o Photography of the existing structure before making changes.

o Activities to be carried out only under expert guidance

o One must maintain a balance between “No change” and “Change for Convenience”

o E.g. activities like plantation, cleaning of water cisterns

One might find remains, old age coins, ornaments, etc in the water. It can be handover to ASI for maintaining. If ASI people are approached before starting such activity, ASI will appoint a person who will take care of such things.

Open Forum

In this section Mr. Kulkarni answered various queries put forth by different individuals.

1. Source for gathering information: PDF files containing list of forts, monuments, details about forts, important monuments, etc is published. It is also sent to municipal corporations and states (state government organizations??). This helps people to know that the particular structure falls under ancient monument category or not, in case any developments to be done. Website providing such information is under construction.

Tel No: 22623446 (ASI office at CST – 5mins from CST station, at St. George Hospital compound)

Another office at Sion

2. Purabhilekh department under Maharashtra government maintains and take care of the historical documents including diaries of British officers. Most documents have been written in Modi/ Portuguese language.


In case student needs this information – he can take a letter from college principal. Xerox of the historical documents can be obtained on submission of application and letter from the college authorities.

3. For any kind of conservation activity by trekkers, it will be advisable to check up in advance
with ASI officials that it won’t cause a problem as per ASI rules.

While making any kind of structural change care should be taken to maintain the original structure.

This kind of work was done at Shivadi fort using the lime taking guidance from a team of architectures.

On similar lines when there was damage to Kukadeshwar temple structure the stones used for the structures have been numbered and the temple is getting rebuilt. The soil proportion was more in the base of the temple than the rocks. Hence building a strong base is of utmost importance. The work on this front is moving at slower pace due to non-availability of the proper staff, skilled labor.

Earlier the villagers took up this task of rebuilding the temple but it was stopped, as it required a disciplined work under expert guidance.

4. Though the ASI related information is not shared with public before publishing the same, the same is made available for reading in case required.

5. Shridatta asked where should one complain about the encroachment.
Kulkarni sir told that if the constructions are done at the forts falling in the “Rajya Sanrakshit Smarak” (State protected monuments) category then it is a crime. Mr. Kulkarni also added that if there are tea stalls, small snack shops outside the forts then unless another option is available the same should not be removed. These stalls provide snacks to the trekkers (especially those who are not frequent trekkers) and also help stallholders to earn some. At the same time if there stalls providing beers etc, it should be prohibited.

6. At times there are difficulties in ASI activities like maintenance, re-construction (if required), etc. They are:

Ø Rate analysis for the work to be done differs from place to place as the estimation depends on place, surrounding, weather at that place, etc.

Ø Rates for the skilled labors (karagirs) differ at different places and season. In monsoon the charges are almost four times than the normal as the workers had agricultural activities during this period.

7. Phadke sir asked about procedure to handle the old idols, remains found in small villages during trekking.


ASI department should be informed by sending a letter or giving them a call. Precise information and photo should be sent.

Later the ASI officials will take care of photography and listings of these findings.

The central government also has a scheme under which following can be done:

An individual can register the old remains (e.g. koriv nakshikam keleli samai).

Two snaps of the thing to be registered with the information and name of the person holding the same should be given.

In future the owner can sell the same. It is not necessary to inform the pricing details but the transfer of ownership should be informed.

Photos are scanned and maintained in the records. This documentation will help curb illegal export of artifacts.

Even if the old remains of manageable size should not be kept at school or colleges, as that will be considered as a crime. Without proper protection the same may get stolen!!

General letter about such findings should be submitted to the nearest tehsil office.

8. The monuments not falling in national level or state level category are to be maintained and taken care by the localites only. C

reating awareness for the same is required. If an NGO wishes to take care they should approach the ASI for the same.

9. If a monument is not included in the list published one contact the ASI for the same. NOC should be obtained from ASI for any kind of conservation activities.

10. Entrance fees charged at the forts: It is required for the expenditure by ASI for fort maintenance.

Phadke sir mentioned about the survey by Durgvikas where it is seen that ASI has built office at the fort!!! To maintain the structure and surrounding falling in the fort and its premises, office should be outside the vicinity of the fort.

11. Photography restrictions at the forts: Permission for photography can be taken before the visit. The purpose of photography is to be mentioned. This step is taken to avoid commercial use of forts by private players.

For shooting of film permission needs to be taken one month in advance. For still photography if asked for permission in the morning till afternoon same will be granted. Please do contact Mr. Kulkarni!



12. Can one get an I-card from the ASI to stop the malicious activities at the fort? –
This is not possible. One should make efforts to stop misbehavior at the forts by spreading awareness among the people and then convince them to stop such activities.

For conducting the ‘Awareness program’ at the forts permission is not required.

13. Forest department and ASI are two different entities. They will take care of the things assigned to them.

e.g. Vasota fort visit- permission from forest department required and not ASI

14. For cutting of trees: Taking prior permission from ASI is important.

15. Though the fort conservation activities are done with enthusiasm one has to help, guidance from ASI so that there is no harm done to the original structure.
While cutting trees: One should use a saw and then a mixture can be applied. Mixture composed of wet dung, jaggery and lime. The bacteria created due to this mixture will eat away the mass of the trees and the lime will prevent further growth.

Cow’s urine should be sprinkled on the rocks, walls to prevent fungus growth due to antibodies in the cow’s urine.

16. If a monument under state category is declared of National importance and included in the national level protection and conservation category then it will cease its state level status.

17. In case of private encroachment at the forts the same should be informed to the ASI. The more effective way is to write letter to chief minister of the state. The secretary will send a copy to the concerned department. The special work cell (karyakaskha) handles this and reply will be received within 15 days. Letter can be handover to Kulkarni sir at Ruia college corner.

After throwing light on various ASI related facts and answering the queries of trekkers Kulkarni sir had left due to other work commitments.

POST LUNCH SESSION

Following points cum suggestions were put forth:

1. One of the suggestions was that this group of trekkers coming together for fort conservation discussion should be given status of association/organization. Nominal fees should be charged for the membership. Mailers should be sent physically to members, as Internet may not be accessible always.

2. Loosely held networking / Association of groups will help:

Ø Easy to approach officials and get queries solved.

Ø Good strength for the conservation activity

Ø Fund raising

Ø Benefit being an organization than individual small group

Phadke sir suggested that Durgvikas (the existing group) could be used as the association.

3. Networking with consistent efforts will always play an important role in conservation.

4. Next workshop to be held at a fort e.g. Shivadi fort to know historical importance of the same and increase the no of trekkers visiting the same.

5. List of contact details of the individuals attending the workshop to be circulated on the yahoo group.

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