Jaipur, Oct 4: The historic and majestic Ranthambhore fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site visited by lakhs of wildlife and heritage lovers every year, is literally sitting on a powder keg, waiting for disaster to strike.
Located atop a hill in the heart of Ranthambhore National Park in Sawaimadhopur, the fort has an unmeasured but visibly large quantity of explosives stored in one part of the premises.
Even as the presence of the explosives poses the risk of a mishap happening anytime at the fort which is a protected monument of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) the matter of its disposal hangs in balance with the Centre and the state government having so far failed to arrive at a solution.
Authorities have been exchanging communications to address the issue for nine long years now, but with no change in the situation.
ASI, which is under the Union Ministry of Culture, says that the organisation has no expertise in examining and disposing of explosives and, therefore, needs experts available with the state government to rid the fort of the explosive haul.
But state government officials argue that since the monument comes under the jurisdiction of the Centre, it is for New Delhi to take a decision.
The issue was recently highlighted at a meeting last month of the Rajasthan Heritage Conservation Authority at the Ganesh temple inside the fort following which it was brought to the notice of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Raje gave fresh instructions to a senior officer to take up the matter with the Centre in order to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
The Authority also discussed the matter at another meeting chaired by Revenue Minister Amra Ram in Jaipur after the Ganesh temple discussions.
"An ASI official at the meeting said that Ranthambhore fort has explosives stored inside which must be disposed of.
The monument is under the jurisdiction of the Centre and it is for the Centre to take a decision.
"The issue is being brought to the knowledge of competent authorities at the Centre," said Onkar Singh Lakhawat, Chairman of the Rajasthan Heritage Conservation Authority.
"This is a very serious issue and must be resolved as soon as possible," he stressed.