Utpal Borpujari

July 27, 2010

UNESCO’s views on Hampi bridge after govt’s feasibility study

Filed under: Culture,Deccan Herald,History,Indian History,Media,Tourism — Utpal Borpujari @ 7:40 pm
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By Utpal Borpujari

The government is carrying out a feasibility study to view to find a new location to build a bridge on the Tungabhadra river downstream from the Hampi World Heritage site, which would replace the cable-stayed bridge within the heritage site area that collapsed in January, 2009.

UNESCO, which had opposed the construction of the bridge within the heritage site, is awaiting the results of the feasibility study that is being conducted as part of a larger effort to develop a traffic movement analysis on the entire World Heritage Site.

“The study is being conducted as part of a larger effort to develop a traffic and transport study for the entire World Heritage Site and its buffer zone. The result of both studies is expected in the months to come and will be announced,” Iskra Panevska, UNESCO’s advisor for  communication and information for South Asia, told Deccan Herald here.

The earlier bridge had collapsed on January 22, 2009, killing several construction workers. The bridge connecting Hampi with Anegundi, another site linked with the Vijayanagara empire. The unfinished bridge had collapsed only weeks after resumption of construction that had been halted nearly a decade ago.

UNESCO had put the group of monuments at Hampi in the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1999 because of two under-construction bridges, and the Anegundi bridge was particularly objected to by the UNESCO as it clashed with the integrity of the World Heritage site both in terms of visual impact and likely increase in heavy vehicular traffic.

UNESCO and ICOMOS, the body which decides on sites to be put in the World Heritage list, had recommended in 2000 that an alternative site be picked to avoid any threat to the Hampi monuments.

After a bypass road and other control measures were put in place between 2003 and 2006, the World Heritage Committee in 2006 removed Hampi from the list of heritage sites in danger.

The construction of the controversial bridge was approved during Veerappa Moily’s tenure as the chief Minister and was the result of demand from local people, and its foundation was laid in 1993 with the stated objective of helping faster economic development of the region and facilitating easier visit of tourists to Anegundi.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 27-07-2010)


July 26, 2010

UNESCO’s peace studies centre named after Gandhi to launch on Oct 2

By Utpal Borpujari

In an apt tribute towards Mahatma Gandhi, UNESCO will inaugurate its Category-I institute on peace studies named after the apostle of peace in New Delhi on this Gandhi Jayanti.

The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) would be run from a temporary premise till its own premises come up at land to be allotted by the Centre, Armoogum Parsuramen, UNESCO’s representative to India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, told Deccan Herald here.

Being a Category-I institute of UNESCO, MGIEP is being set up with majority investment from the global body with the aim of making it a hub for peace studies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The institute will contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Dakar Framework for Action for Education for All and the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DSED), 2005-14, for which UNESCO is the designated lead agency,” Parsuramen said.

MGIEP will contribute to the conceptualization, design and formulation of UNESCO’s programes, objectives and strategies, including regional and sub-regional strategies in education for a culture of peace and sustainable development.

The institute would promote evidence-based research and analysis of education for peace and sustainable development to establish a regional pool of individual and institutional expertise. It would also act as a network on the best practices in this sphere.

UNESCO, Parsuramen said, would provide professional and technical support for the regular programmes and activities of the institute and encourage UNESCO National Commissions of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to send trainees, experts and researchers in the relevant fields.

At the initial state, UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok would provide MGIEP with the necessary assistance to conceptualise and develop a strategic programme of activities on the basis of a more detailed assessment of field-based needs in order to define the outcomes and results of the proposed programmes.

The institute would be managed through an operational agreement between UNESCO and the Human Resource Development Ministry, and would get necessary financial support from the government.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 25-07-2010)


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