New Delhi: Noting that World Heritage sites were not receiving appropriate care and protection, government auditor has pulled up Archaeological Survey of India for not having a reliable database of monuments it protects and suggested it to frame an updated Conservation Policy.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, in its report, said the ASI does not have a "reliable database of the exact number of protected monuments under its jurisdiction."
In its physical inspection of 1,655 centrally protected monuments and sites out of 3,678 spread across the country, the auditor found that 92 (six per cent) were untraceable.
"This is far higher than the number communicated to the Parliament by the ASI," the report said.
It also observed that ASI, which has completed 150 years last year, was spending less than one per cent of its total expenditure on exploration and excavation, which was one of its primary activities.
"We observed poor documentation of the excavation works carried out by the ASI. The ASI headquarter could not provide the status of 458 excavation proposals approved during last five years," it said.
ASI also received flak from CAG for not having a Comprehensive Policy guideline for the management of antiquities owned by it.
The report said, "World Heritage Sites did not receive appropriate care and protection. There were numerous cases of encroachment and unauthorised construction in and around these sites."
The government auditor found that ASI, despite being the custodian of antiquities, did not even maintain a database of the total number of antiquities in its possession.
"In the absence of centralised information, there was significant risk of theft or loss of these antiquities. During our inspections, we found that 131 antiquities were stolen from various monuments or sites and 37 from site museums," it observed.
"The efforts of the ASI to retrieve these items were completely ineffective."
Culture Ministry, under which ASI functions, also got a rap from the CAG for being "lax and deficient on aspects of adequacy of policy and legislation, financial management, monitoring of conservation projects and provision of human resources to these organisations."