Indian monument
Archaeological Survey of India has been unable to trace as many as 24 protected monumentsGetty

The Culture Ministry of India has reported that up to 24 Indian monuments have been declared "untraceable" or "missing" by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma also warned parliament that the Culture Ministry was facing a shortage of manpower.

A Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report published in 2013 indicated that 92 protected monuments were missing, according to Huffington Post India. Sharma told parliament on 14 December that efforts by the ASI had found that up to 24 monuments were untraceable, 42 physically existed, 14 were affected due to rapid urbanisation, and 12 had been submerged by reservoirs or dams.

Sharma said that efforts were being made to find the untraceable monuments, including verifying of old records and revenue maps, referring to published reports, carrying out physical inspections, and deploying teams to trace the monuments. The 24 missing monuments belong to the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal.

The minister also told Indian politicians that the Culture Ministry was facing trouble due to not enough people filling vacant positions, with one-third of the posts in the ministry remaining vacant. The Press Trust of India reported that only 6,444 out of the 9,423 vacancies had been filled.

Among the organisations that are facing a shortage of staff is the ASI, the National Museum, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. The National Archives of India, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi Public Library also have a large portion of unfilled vacancies.

Sharma told parliament: "Periodical review of vacancies in all cadres resulting from retirement, resignation, death, etc. is carried out and suitable action for filled up of vacancies is taken up as per rules and procedures."