VIII.18 Group of Monuments of Hampi (India)
The Committee's attention was drawn to the state of conservation of the Group of Monuments of Hampi and the updated information concerning progress made by the State Party in removing the threats facing the site caused by the ad-hoc public works within the World Heritage protected areas. The Committee examined the findings and recommendations for corrective measures of the ICOMOS-UNESCO reactive monitoring (February 2000) requested by the Committee at its twenty-third session. It noted with appreciation the successful work of the Karnataka State Government's Task Force for Hampi that examined the ICOMOS-UNESCO mission recommendations leading to the State Government's decision to demolish and relocate the two bridges that were negatively impacting upon the site. The Committee noted that the Task Force Chairperson had informed the Director-General of UNESCO that the decision by the State Government had been received favourably by the general public in India. The Committee also examined the deliberations and decision of the Bureau at its twentyfourth session in June 2000, as well as the resolution concerning Hampi adopted by the participants of the UNESCO-Archaeological Survey of India National Workshop for Management of Indian World Cultural Heritage (22-24 October 2000).
The Observer of India expressed her Government's appreciation for the co-operation of the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Centre for the actions taken to enhance conservation and management of this site. She informed the Committee that the Indian Government was taking all necessary actions to ensure the conservation and development of this unique and vast site. The Observer stated that the construction of the two bridges was halted, not withstanding repeated news that work to complete the bridges had resumed. The Observer informed the Committee that the State Government of Karnakata decided to dismantle and relocate the footbridge connecting the Virupaksha Temple and the Virapapura Gada Island. Reference was also made to other actions such as removal of illegal encroachment and preparation of a comprehensive management plan, being taken by the District Commissioner of Bellary. The relevant State authorities were committed to ensure the protection of the integrity and authenticity of the site. The Committee was informed that the Chief Minister of the State Government of Karnataka had recently announced his commitment to protect the World Heritage areas of Hampi, and that a careful study of the vehicular bridge would be undertaken, with a view to maintaining a balance between the needs to protect the heritage values and those of the local community members who had been demanding the construction of these bridges and therefore had strong views on the matter. The Observer underlined the importance of fully involving the local communities in the process of elaborating the comprehensive management plan.
The Committee expressed its appreciation for the positive actions and measures taken by the State Party to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage values of the Group of Monuments of Hampi. The Committee requested State Party to submit for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-fifth session, a report on the progress made in:
(a) relocating the two intrusive bridges outside the World Heritage site;
(b) implementing the 4-point recommendations for corrective measures of the UNESCO-ICOMOS mission in February 2000;
(c) preparing a comprehensive management plan for the site.
In addition, the Committee requested the Government of India to examine the possibilities of establishing a special administrative body empowered to ensure integrated development and conservation of the whole World Heritage protected areas, whose primary objective would be to co-ordinate various development and cultural and natural heritage conservation activities within the protected areas of Hampi World Heritage site. The Committee requested the World Heritage Centre to continue closely co-operating with the State Party to ensure the development of a comprehensive management plan. The Committee decided to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.