New York: The 18th century Balaji Ghat,
situated along the river Ganges in Varanasi, is among the over
60 endangered cultural heritage sites in the world that are in
dire need of preservation, according to World Monuments Fund
(WMF), a private foundation.
WMF President Bonnie Burnham today announced the `2012
World Monuments Watch`, a list of 67 cultural heritage sites
in 41 countries that need immediate assistance.
The sites include the Nasca lines and Geoglyphs in Peru,
palace and garden of China`s Nanyue Kingdom, England`s
Coventry Cathedral and the floating fishing villages in
WMF said, Balaji ghat is an "important example of the
buildings constructed along the Ganges to serve pilgrims
worshipping at the holy river" in Varanasi, one of the world?s
oldest continuously inhabited cities.
Collapse of the main building of Balaji ghat, likely from
decay of the wood, points to inadequate conservation,
maintenance as well as poor heritage protection, it said.
"Inclusion in the watch will support a plan to restore the
building for use as a cultural centre and help to continue an
ancient tradition of pilgrimage and enlightenment."
The 67 sites "vividly illustrate the ever-more pressing
need to create a balance between heritage concerns and the
social, economic and environmental interests of communities
around the world," WMF said here in a statement.
In addition to promoting community pride, heritage
preservation can have a positive impact on local populations
during difficult economic times by providing employment and
development of well-managed tourism, it said.
"The World Monuments Watch is a call to action on behalf
of endangered cultural-heritage sites across the globe. And
while these sites are historic, they are also very much of the
present integral parts of the lives of the people who come
into contact with them every day," WMF President Bonnie
American Express, a founding sponsor of the World
Monuments Watch, will contribute five million dollars in
support of the programme over the next five years, Burnham