Western Ghats now a world heritage site

India's 1600-km long Western Ghats mountain chain, which has forests older than the Himalaya mountains, has been added to list of world heritage sites by the United Nations.

The Western Ghats mountain chain is recognised as one of the world's eight 'hottest hotspots' of biological diversity.

The chain's forests, which are older than the Himalaya mountains influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern.

The ghats, which start at the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra and runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, was added to the World Heritage list by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
A historic opera house in Germany, a border town and its fortifications in Portugal, and 18 interconnected lakes in Chad are some other sites that have been added to the list.

The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth in Germany, which was built in the 18th century, is considered a masterpiece of Baroque theatre architecture. It is the only entirely preserved example of its type where an audience of 500 can experience Baroque court opera culture and acoustics authentically, as its auditorium retains its original materials.

The border town of Elvas and its fortifications in Portugal, was also added to the list, as the site represents the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in the world. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century, its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640.

The World Heritage Committee meets once a year, and is responsible for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. agencies


Comptroller and Auditor General of India [CAG] has blasted the previous Mayawati government for allowing 'unlawful' demolition of a heritage building by the  Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University [CSMMU], which was earlier known as King George’s Medical College in Lucknow.

CSMMU had demolished a heritage building on the same site and constructed a new one at the cost of Rs 28.30 crore in disregard of the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, the CAG [Civil] report-2 ending 31 March 2011 said. The report was tabled in the state assembly here on Monday.

The university also did not seek 'No Objection certificate' from the ASI prior to the demolition and construction of the buildings. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 and rules framed there under not only prohibit the demolition of the building which was declared heritage by the Archeological Survey of India [ASI] but also mandated to obtain the 'No Objection Certificate' from its prior to construction or re-construction or repair or renovation of such buildings or structures which are located in prohibited and regulated areas.

During the scrutiny of the records by the CAG in January 2011 it was found that the university owned a building which was falling under the heritage zone declared by the ASI.
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