Ballari: The New Delhi office of the UN agency, UNESCO, has sought a detailed report from state government officials on the road widening next to the ancient Kamalapur tank dating back to the Vijayanagar period in the core zone of Hampi World Heritage Site.

Quickly responding to a DC  report on the issue –At Hampi’s Kamalapur tank, a highway to ruin, which appeared on Wednesday, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO representative to India has e-mailed a letter to Dr Avinash Menon Rajendran, Commissioner, Hampi world heritage area management authority (HWHAMA), seeking a detailed report on the road widening.

According to this letter, a copy of which is available with DC, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi said that since last year, UNESCO has been following with concern media reports on the road widening next to the Kamalapur tank, which, according to the Archeological Survey of India(ASI) would have an adverse effect on the heritage value of this site. “We are informed that the work, which had been suspended since March this year was resumed recently despite ASI's objection”, he pointed.

Work on the highway next to the ancient Kamalapur tank at Hampi was resumed recently
Work on the highway next to the ancient Kamalapur tank at Hampi was resumed recently © Deccan Chronicle

The UNESCO letter, which has been marked to Ms Umashreee, minister of state for Kannada and culture, Mr Aravind Jadhav, chief secretary and the authorities concerned, says, “As you may be aware, States Parties to the Convention are invited to inform the World Heritage Committee, through the World Heritage Centre, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention major restorations or new constructions which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Notice should be given as soon as possible and before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, so that the Committee may assist in seeking appropriate solutions to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is fully preserved”. In this case, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi said, UNESCO office has so far received no communication from the state government. Reminding Mr Menon that the conservation of Hampi world heritage site is expected to be examined at the next World Heritage Committee in July 2017, Mr  Aoyagi said, “We would appreciate receiving a detailed situation report on this road widening”.

The bund of the tank is being divided for widening a 2-km stretch of State Highway-49 despite opposition from the  ASI. Surprisingly, none of the government departments including ASI, HWHAMA and PWD own up responsibility for laying the tarred road. The tank, built in the 15th century, is one of the examples of the expertise on hydraulic system to make optimum use of water for drinking and irrigation.