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`Public-private partnership needed to maintain monuments'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, NOV. 27. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, today called for greater public-private partnership to restore and maintain historical monuments. The Prime Minister's remarks came at a function in the capital to mark the presentation of the prestigious Aga Khan award for architecture.

In his address to a select gathering, the Prime Minister underlined the indifferent attitude towards monuments of historical importance in the country. "Perhaps as a result of an embarrassment of riches we have become indifferent to their condition," he said. The Prime Minister asked the present generation to remember that "these are legacies monuments of which we are only caretakers, not owners. They belong to succeeding generations."

The function was held at the gardens of Humayun's Tomb which was illuminated, bringing alive the grandeur of the magnificent monument. The monument is being maintained with the support of the Aga Khan Foundation. The Prime Minister said there was need to find creative solutions to allocating scarce resources in a developing country to preservation of heritage. He praised the Aga Khan Foundation for its role "in drawing together various strands of shared cultural links, charitable work, and preservation of the common heritage of all humanity."Later the Prime Minister along with the spiritual Muslim leader, the Aga Khan, presented the awards to seven recipients. Prominent among the projects rewarded this evening were Bibliotheca Alexandria Egypt, Primary School Gandi, Burkina Faso, Sandbag Shelter prototypes, Restoration of the Al Abbas Mosque, Yemen, The project to restore the Old City of Jerusalem, B2 House, Turkey and Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Aga Khan, who is on a weeklong trip here, said he was increasingly disturbed by the loss of cultural identity and appropriateness in Islamic architecture. He said that "a few centuries ago, architecture was one of the great forms of artistic expression in many Muslim societies."

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