Less than 30 metres from an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected Ajmeri Gate monument in Chowk Ajmeri Gate area work of adding two more floors to a commercial property continues unabated in a clear violation of the archaeological law.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010 bans any new construction and addition to existing property within 0-100 metres (prohibited area) of a protected monument.
It also puts several conditions on activity within 101-300 metres (regulated area).
The property has seen construction activity for adding additional floors since last week, but neither the ASI nor the civic body took any notice.
The structure, dilapidated in parts, is spread over property numbers 3971-3975 and has the building divided into several portions.
The ASI had received a complaint about the violation but for two days it did not do anything.
Daljeet Singh, ASI’s Delhi circle chief, said: “Our personnel surveyed the site and found that rules had been violated. However, the occupants were non-cooperative, so we could not ascertain the owner of the property.”
Incidentally, the construction goes on during the night while the activities are subdued during the day, he said adding, “Possibly because of this, our field staff could not get a clear picture.”
It was two days after HT drew attention to the fact that the ASI filed a police complaint and sent a copy to the civic body.
“We have also sent a show-cause notice marking it ‘To, The owner’ of the property. If he or she fails to reply within a week, we will send our recommendation for final action to the Director General (ASI),” Singh said.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is also supposed to monitor unauthorised construction, did not respond. “We will look into it,” a North corporation official said.