The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has shot off a letter to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), asking it to initiate action against south Delhi residents who have carried out illegal construction and repair work within prohibited areas of protected monuments.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (amendment and revalidation) Act 2010 amendment bans any new construction in the prohibited area (0-100 metres). It also puts several restrictions for construction and development in the regulated area (101-300 metres) around protected monuments.
The letter, a copy of which is with HT, states that the ASI should demolish illegal portions in such buildings and the civic agency will provide it necessary manpower and machinery as per its requirement.
The civic agency has been getting several complaints from the ASI regarding illegal construction around protected monuments. SDMC officials said the ASI should be taking action against such property owners. “ASI officials know the ground reality and are in a better position to tell the exact quantum of demolition that will be required,” an SDMC official said.
“We do take action against illegal constructions. But for any property that falls under the regulated or prohibited zone of a protected monument, there is a provision in the Act where ASI officers can initiate action on their own,” he added.
Officials further pointed out that as per section 30A and 30B of the 2010 Act, there is a penal provision of imprisonment of two years and a fine extending up to Rs. 1 lakh or both.
“ASI officials often give us information about illegal constructions, but when it comes to demolishing them, the onus is shifted to the civic agency. ASI can also take action against the violators to protect the historical monument. They have done so in the past,” the official said.
As per the Act, any person who wants to carry out repair or renovation of a building which falls in the prohibited or regulated area of a protected monument has to seek permission from the competent authority — the ASI.