Less than 7% protected monuments have security cover, says report

The government is working to boost surveillance at all 3,693 centrally protected monuments (CPMs) across the country with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launching a study on security needs of the monuments in collaboration with IIT-Delhi.

The project comes on the back of acute shortage of security personnel at centrally protected monuments with the ASI recently telling the parliamentary committee probing the matter that security guards were posted at only 248 of the 3,693 CPMs. That comes to a dismal 6.7 per cent security coverage, a matter that the committee took very seriously in its report tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

“We are concerned to note that of the 3,693 CPMs, security guards are posted at only 248 — which is less than 6.7 per cent of the total number of CPMs. The committee notes with dismay that out of the total requirement of 7,000 personnel for the protection of monuments, the government could provide only 2,578 security personnel at 248 locations due to budgetary constraints,” the report of the committee noted. The panel observed that budgetary constraints should not be an excuse for not providing security guards to protect India’s rich cultural heritage.

“It is the bounden duty of the government to protect our heritage sites. A budget should be provided to appoint 7,000 personnel for the protection of the monuments or as per the study conducted by IIT-Delhi. In view of this worrying state of affairs, the committee is of strong view that the budgetary allocation available with the ministry/ASI for safeguarding our CPMs needs a serious relook,” the report says.