Chennai, Feb 23 (UNI) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will launch a National Mission in Antiquities and Monuments by next month to facilitate a systematic documentation of the country's antiquarian wealth, ASI Director General C Babu Rajeev said today.
Delivering the keynote address at a national symposium on 'Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property' here, organised by ASI in collaboration with UNESCO, he said courts in India as well as abroad would need undisputed and authoritative documentation to prove ownership and antiquity of cultural property.
The ASI had also proposed amendments to the Antiquity and Art Treasure Act, 1972, to plug loopholes and make the law more stringent to deal with illicit trafficking of cultural property. The Ministry of Culture had held wide consultations with all stakeholders on the proposed amendments, he said.
In addition to the enactment of stringent laws, effective implementation and constant vigil on the part of enforcement agencies and increased public awareness were also important in the preservation of the country's cultural property, Mr Rajeev stressed. To address these issues, the proposed Antiquities and Monuments Mission would strengthen communication channels and build public awareness through a series of measures, including interaction with Departments of Education to introduce necessary inputs in the school and University curriculum.
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