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Monday, July 16, 2018

Solar plants at heritage sites: UNESCO says it is worried

While the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy readies to set up solar power plants at the three World Heritage Sites in the Capital,the New Delhi office of the United Nations Educational...

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi | Published: June 28, 2010 12:56:51 am

While the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy readies to set up solar power plants at the three World Heritage Sites in the Capital,the New Delhi office of the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has voiced concerns over the move and shot off letters to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) seeking details of the project.

The UNESCO has asked the ASI to share information on the project,apprehensive the interventions will compromise the heritage value of the sites.

The ASI had already given permission to the MNRE for the project at Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar. While the work is in progress at these two sites,the MNRE is awaiting permission from the Delhi government to begin work at the Red Fort. The solar power plants will take up around 600 sq m at each site and the UNESCO is concerned these might be set up at inappropriate locations.

“Our main concern is conservation and preservation of the sites and though the move is positive,it has to be made clear that the interventions do not hamper the value of the sites. According to the operational guidelines of UNESCO,the ASI should share information with us on any intervention made,but we did not hear from them and so have directly written to them seeking details of the project,” a senior UNESCO official told Newsline.

As per UNESCO guidelines,state parties should provide information to the World Heritage Committee about the implementation of any project.To facilitate the implementation,the committee develops objectives that are periodically reviewed.

“The monuments are the state’s properties but if we see that that something is amiss we raise our concerns as they are listed with us as World Heritage Sites,” the official said. “In this case,we are concerned over the large interventions being made at the sites and wish to know why energy is required to be produced within the site.”

ASI officials,however,maintained that the ‘authenticity and integrity’ of the site will not be compromised with. “We are aware of the outstanding universal value of the heritage sites. We will respond to the UNESCO’s letter,” said a senior ASI official.

The official also maintained that the solar power plants will come up in obscure locations within the site and will not interfere in the main view of the historic monuments.

Lighting up heritage

Solar power plants at Red Fort,Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar before Commonwealth Games

Sanctioned Rs 1 crore each to set up plants spread over 600 sq m

Plants will generate energy of around 50 KV

Daytime load at a site: Indoor lighting and fans,ventilation,solar photovoltaic pumps for irrigation,information kiosks and supply at the ticketing counters

Nightload: LED-based flood lights,garden and outdoor lights

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