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24 December 2003
Cave paintings being destroyed in India

A series of rare cave paintings, made thousands of years ago near Umaraoganj outpost on the Bhopal-Raisen road (India), are risking destruction by lack of proper conservation.
     Other cave paintings - like the ones found in Bhimbetka, which are about 10,000 years old - have been included by UNESCO in the World Heritage Site list. However similar cave paintings, like the one at Umaraoganj, even if they have almost same antiquity are still lying neglected.
     There are large number of paintings on the hills near the Umaraoganj outpost.  These ancient cave paintings are neither being conserved by the Archaeology Department nor the district administration is concerned about protecting them. Smoke and poisonous gases emanating from several brick kilns situated close to the cave are ruining the paintings and vandalism is also causing severe damage.
     Sources of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said that currently the cave paintings found in and near Bhimbetaka, Hoshangabad, Sitakherdi, Sanchi Hill, Satdhara, Pachmarhi, Chaturbhujnala and Rewa are under the protection of ASI. But unfortunately that don't include the Umaraoganj cave paintings, which deserve appropriate protection and maintenance.

Source: Central Chronicle (16 December 2003)

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