Kasaragod: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has initiated measures to include the Bekal Fort here in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. However, a letter from ASI’s superintending archaeologist K Moorthiswary to the Chief Secretary of Kerala says that 3.5 acres of land owned by the state inside the fort, which includes a Government Rest House, should be handed over to the Central Archaeology Department to complete the formalities.
Apart from the 3.5 acres in the possession of the Kerala Government, 37 acres of land inside the fort is under the ASI. According to the ASI’s letter, the state government’s land is needed to carry out developmental works which are mandatory to earn the heritage status.
Bekal Fort, a key-shaped structure two-thirds of which juts out into the sea, is a major tourist attraction and a protected monument under the ASI.
Presently, no place in Kerala has been included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. The nearest site from Kerala is Hampi in Karnataka, which is around 900 km away.
Even as the ASI goes ahead with the plan, historians in Kerala have expressed doubts over the move. According to historian Dr C Balan and Folkland chairman Dr V Jayarajan, Bekal Fort is unlikely to find a place on the UNESCO list considering the norms in place.