GUWAHATI, March 21 � The report of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre rejecting the plea of river island Majuli for a world heritage site status under the cultural landscape category is not based on facts, said Suryanarayana Murthy, the consultant appointed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for preparation of the nomination dossier of the island for the purpose.
Murthy, who maintains a direct connection with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC) for the purpose, today told The Assam Tribune that a WHC letter dated March 12, 2012 to the ASI has been misinterpreted based on a report of a news portal.
The word �rejection� was not there in the letter, nor the World Heritage Convention�s Operational Guidelines has the word in it.
The WHC letter simply said that it has received only two copies of the Majuli nomination dossier on January 24, 2012. But it requires three identical copies of the dossier. By May 31 next, these three copies are to be submitted to the WHC as per the World Heritage Convention�s Operational Guidelines, 2008.
The WHC has also called for detailed justification on integrity and authenticity of the site. It has also called for indexing and cataloguing of the photographs, slides and visuals submitted with the dossier by May 31 next.
After submission of all these items, the WHC will evaluate the completeness of the dossier. Once the WHC is satisfied with the completeness of the dossier, it will be sent for evaluation to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to the UNESCO headquartered in Paris.
If the ICOMOS feels verification of the site is required, then it will come for evaluation of the site in September/ October next. After evaluation, if it feels, further documentation or further improvement in management of the site may be sought for either by the ICOMOS or by the WHC.
Some commitment would be required from the Assam Government in matters of management of site under the Majuli Cultural Landscape Region Act, 2006 and by January 2013 this part will have to be completed. Only then the evaluation is said to be completed and the case of the island would be taken up for consideration in June 2013, said Murthy.
He claimed that the March 12 letter of the WHC is a part of the entire nomination process and it has unfortunately been misinterpreted.