ASI ADG wants archaeologists to hone managerial skills

Poor pay scales discourage best minds in the field to join ASI

The need to conserve the monuments was more than ever with the increased awareness among people about country’s past, and the government was working on restructuring the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), said Juthika Patankar, additional director general of ASI here on Monday.

Delivering the presidential address here on 150th anniversary of ASI, Patankar said this would also provide better prospects for professionals in the area. 

Further, she said the restructuring process will also address some of the concerns of the specialists and scholars of the ASI, who have for long, worked without much financial benefits and perks. 

The process would also mean, that the archaeologists, epigraphists and other conservation specialists to acquire and hone their managerial skills, which was well beyond the domain of their professional expertise. 

Stating that the government was committed to providing archaeologists and professionals of various branches in the ASI, Patankar said creating a conducive ambience towards discharging their duty towards conserving the country’s built heritage was the priority now.  

“Archaeology is increasingly becoming an inter-disciplinary subject which needs professionals and skilled persons from diverse fields. Challenge today is not only to prepare ahead, but also to integrate the best talent in the field of conservation, co-existing with different talent pool ranging from NGOs which have been working to conserve monuments and heritage, to roping in Universities across the country in the task of conserving the heritage,” he added. 

Pan-Indian outlook

Describing ASI as pan-Indian in its outlook and scope whose interests transcended the concepts of region, castes and community, Patankar said the 150th anniversary of ASI was time for celebration and also an occasion to introspect and plan for the future course of direction.

Renowned numismatist A V Narasimhamurthy, also past director of the institution, and chief guest on the occasion, spoke on the growth and history of the ASI.

Recalling the services of a generation of subject specialists and scholars, he said they strived selflessly in deciphering and understanding the past. 

“ASI has served the country best, and the subject specialists delved deep to throw light on the history and culture of the country”, he added. 

Mincing no words in expressing his displeasure over remuneration many experts got, as against people in other profession, Narasimhamurthy said the pay scales of the professionals of ASI was not the best and hence had failed to attract the best minds in the field of history and archaeology in recent decades.

“Though the ASI professionals are among the best and are invited throughout the world for conservation exercises, the pay scales are among the lowest and the government must address this lacunae,” he said.  

T S Ravishankar, director (epigraphy) also spoke on the occasion. 

Retired scholars, conservation experts and staff of the department were felicitated for the contribution they had made in the field of exploration and conservation. Those felicitated included M V Sampath and K M Badri, former directors of epigraphy branch, C A P Shastry, former superintending epigraphist, P B Maslekar, former assistant superintendent horticulturist, T B Desai, former draftsman, R Veeraraghavan and V Lokanathan, retired deputy superintendent archaeological chemists, C S Jayaramasundaram and A K Bahadur, retired assistant superintendent archaeological chemists. Retired staff members from the administrative branch were also felicitated on the occasion. 

K V Ramesh, retired joint director of ASI, S V Venkateshaiah, regional director (south) ASI, were among those present. A photo exhibition highlighting the various monuments across the country has been put on display at Puratatva Bhavan, near Sankranti Circle, Hebbal 2nd stage. The exhibition will  be open to public for a week.

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