The Society of Earth Scientists is organizing a National Geoheritage Field Workshop in association with Department of Tourism, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeoscience, Lucknow and JNR Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth based on Zawar Ancient Metallurgical National Geological Monument Jhamarkotra Stromatolite (Fossil Algae) National Geological Monument in Udaipur. The two day event will be held on 3-4 March 2023 at Udaipur.
A field trip will consist of site visit to Zawar ancient metallurgical National Geological Monument and associated geological & archaeological sites between 8:30AM - 5PM. On 4 March, 2023 there will be a field visit to Jhamar Kotra Stromatolite (Fossil Algae) National Geological Monument & Oldest rocks of Rajasthan (TTG Gneisses Basement) which will be followed by Valedictory event at the JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur.
General Secretary of the society Dr. Satish Tripathi informed that earlier workshops were organized by the society at Bagh Dinosaur site, Dhar, MP and Katch Jurassic geo-heritage site of Gujarat. Dr. Tirpathi said that SES is promoting conservation of spectacular geological heritage since 2019, since these are are under threat due to fast development.
The National Geological Monument of the typical and unique Rock - Nephaline Syenite (bluish colour rock) of Kishangarh, Rajasthan is destroyed due to a road widening project. There are several such examples across India, said Tripathi. There is no legislation for the same, he added.
SES submitted a draft legislation in 2019 to PMO and related ministries but it has been lying pending since. Recently the Ministry of Mines has put up a draft legislation. Dr. Tripathi claimed that It was the first time in the history that SES got the Mawmluh Cave of Meghalayan Age fame recognized as 'First IUGS Geological Heritage Site' and Indian geo-heritage got a place in the Global list.
Talking further about the event, Dr. Tripathi said that SES is organizing a two day field visit to Zawar Ancient Metallurgical site and Jhamar kotra Stromatolite (Fossil algae) Site to invite attention of State Government and development agencies to the potential of developing GEOTOURISM in Rajasthan.
UNESCO has recognized Global Geo-Parks since 2015 and there are more than 177 UGGs from 46 countries across the Globe including some very small countries like Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, etc. But India does not have any UGG. India possesses great geological diversity and many sections are of global significance, Dr. Tripathi added.
He also said that though development of geo-heritage sites are going on in several states, they lack a centralized policy, which can get them UNESCO recognition.
Dr. Tripathi, while talking about the issue said “UNESCO has listed criteria and we need to develop these sites based on these criteria, which is missing in our case. 'GEO-PARK' is a Global brand so we need to follow the norms to attract International tourists. These sites are situated mainly in backward areas and development of Geo-parks will change the economy of these regions and local people will be benefitted.”
Dr. Tripathi said that the foot fall increases many times once we get UNESCO designation. GEOTOURISM is still in its infancy stage in India and we need constant efforts to promote it, he added.