There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the ASI Credit: EastMojo image

New Delhi: Twenty-four monuments and sites in the country are “untraceable,” the Parliament was informed on Monday.

Union Culture Minister, G Kishan Reddy in a written response to another question in Lok Sabha also said, “It is estimated that 210 thefts involving 486 objects have been reported from centrally-protected monuments/sites located in 19 states/UTs since Independence.”

Recovery of stolen objects is an ongoing process and 91 objects have been recovered so far, he added.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has surveyed 8,478 villages in the last eight years and antiquarian remains have been found in 2,914 of them, Reddy said in response to another query.

He said that the ASI regularly conducts village to village surveys to explore and record the antiquarian remains.

There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the ASI, with 743 in Uttar Pradesh, the largest in a state.

In a written response to a question as to the number of missing monuments in the country, he said, “24 monuments/sites are untraceable.”

The minister also shared state-wise details about village to village survey carried out by the ASI during the period spanning from 2014-15 to 2021-22.

ASI surveyed 8,478 villages in this period and antiquarian remains have been found in 2,914 of these villages, as per the data shared.

Out of the 8,478 villages, the maximum number of villages were surveyed in Punjab — 1,459, followed by Karnataka — 933; and antiquarian remains were found in 130 and 806 villages respectively in these two states.

In response to another query, Reddy said during the last five years (2017-2021) 3152 villages were surveyed out of which antiquarian remains were reported in 905 villages.

In response to another question, Reddy said ASI undertakes conservation works of 743 monuments, including 144 temples, in Uttar Pradesh.

Conservation of monuments is a continuous process. Works are carried out by ASI as per site requirement and available resources, he said.

Also, 1,224 monuments have cultural notice boards, the minister said.

On a query on the total number of ticketed and non-ticketed ASI monuments in the country, he said, there are 3,693 monuments, sites declared as of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 in the country, out of which entry fee is charged at 143 locations.”

In response to another query he said, for entry fee purposes, monuments have been divided into two groups. Group A – monuments inscribed on World Heritage list, Group B- others. Category A has 20 entries and remaining 123 are under Category B.

On a separate query on whether “the Government is considering to fund a project to study genetic similarities and differences in the DNA (genetic) profiles of India population groups,” the minister replied in the negative.

“Some vague reports of carrying out a study on ‘racial purity’ by the Ministry of Culture appeared in a few print media which was immediately refuted. A joint representation on the subject was also received,” he added.

In a response to another query, Reddy said, till date approximately 60,000 programmes have been organised all over India by central ministries or state governments under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

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