Sample this! Oct 2013: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), one of the most coveted agencies in India, started excavating at the fort of the former king, Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh in Daudia Khera village at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh in search of gold supposedly worth Rs 30,000 crores, and all based on a dream of a sadhu! Where other nations invest money in excavations only after research and geographical surveys, the premier national excavation agency, which operates under the Ministry of Culture, relies on dreams of seers!
If you found that rollickingly laughable, the dents get more visible when one browses through the recent CAG report that states that when asked by CAG to give details of past excavations, ASI could not give any details about 458 excavations that had been approved by ASI in the past five years. If you wanted to search for evidence of mismanagement and fraudulent investments, one needn’t go far.
It doesn’t stop here. CAG also found out that out of the sample of 1655 ASI protected monuments it investigated, 92 were absolutely untraceable. Yes, you read it right. Untraceable! And ASI was supposed to be the agency at the forefront of protecting and maintaining ancient monuments. Such is the pathetic condition of the existing monuments that a tourist rarely would like to spend time and money visiting any but a few handful. Only 116 monuments out of 3500 monuments have ticket counters; and these have generated only a measly Rs 95.64 crore in the last five years, averaging around Rs 20 crores per year. Out of this amount, Rs 2 crores is contributed by Taj Mahal alone, followed by Agra Fort that contributes Rs 1 crore annually.