Bhubaneswar :  The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a leading organization in the country for conservation and  preservation of  Heritage and the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management  (IITTM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding  Friday, here at the campus of the Institute. INTACH  has been declared as a Centre of Excellence by the Govt. of India and IITTM is a leading tourism and travel   management institute under the  Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Md. Sabir Hussain, the Nodal Officer of the Institute, said that the MOU will facilitate collaborative efforts to further common objectives through various activities. He said that both the organizations will be working towards promoting academic and research facilities, conducting training programmes on culture education, heritage, tourism and travel industry management and related subjects for persons from the industry, academia, students etc.

State convener of INTACH Amiya Bhusan Tripathy said that the potential of Odisha as a tourist destination for both foreign and domestic travellers has not been   fully explored.  He said that in spite of the rich cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, the State lags in tourist footfalls.  Tripathy stressed on the proper conservation and preservation of the crumbling heritage monuments of the State and said that lack of awareness among the people and officials is a malaise. Intach has 12 Chapters in the State with a membership of more than 500 heritage lovers.

Anil Dhir, the convener of Intach’s Bhubaneswar Chapter said that the rich and varied heritage of the State is is under severe  neglect.  Dhir said that the State Archaeology Department has  only 221 monuments under its  fold, while the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has  another  78 monuments  which are declared as protected. Along with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Konark, the total number of protected monuments in the State are only 300 in number.  Dhir added  that in the last two decades, Intach has already listed and documented more than 6500 heritage monuments in 16 districts of the State. He further added that if proper surveys will be made in the remaining districts, the list will surpass 12500, making Odisha the richest state in built heritage.  

Dr. Adyasha Das, the co-ordinator of IITTM said that the MoU will lead to synergy between the two and that capacity building, training and awareness programmes will be conducted. She said that the students of the Institute will benefit by way of field visits, conservation training, photography, content creation etc.  Intach undertakes many heritage projects, and the students of IITTM  can be involved in these projects.