INTACH sets up fund to restore heritage structures

New Delhi: In the wake of the recent Uttarakhand disaster, the Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has set up a heritage relief and restoration fund to ensure immediate action whenever a crisis situation arises.

"This is the first time any organisation is setting up a fund targetted at the rescue of the heritage. There are other funds, including the prime minister`s relief fund, but they are for general rescue of people and rehabilitation which is a great priority," INTACH member-secretary C.T. Misra said.

"After the Uttarakhand disaster, we realised it is important to have a fund that is targetted at restoring not just temples but antiquities and museums as well."

"There are around 930 heritage structures in Uttarakhand, and as of now we don`t know how many of them have been washed out," Misra said.

So far, INTACH has contributed Rs.10 lakh in this fund and its staff members have raised Rs.85,000 in voluntary contributions.

"A team will visit the sites and see what all has been damaged. Once they come back with the report, we will take up the most immediate projects that need restoration," Misra said.

Heavy rainfall and cloud burst in Uttarakhand in June led to floods and landslides that killed hundreds of people. Though the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been entrusted with the restoration of the Kedarnath temple, INTACH aims to restore other heritage monuments and temples that do not come under the ASI.

"ASI has a specific role in their own area and they will look after ASI-protected monuments and funding will come from government. They will do what they have to do. But there are many traditional temples and houses who is going to look after that?" said Misra.

"We want everybody to contribute if they care for heritage. We would like this message to spread and hope general public too contributes," she said.