It has been more than two years after an amendment in the archeological act but heritage authorities have yet to come up with heritage bye-laws for even a single protected monument in the city.
Delhi has 174 Archeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monuments, part of the list of more than 3,500 such monuments across India.
The Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010 mandates that monument-specific heritage byelaws be prepared so as to regulate construction activity near ASI-protected monuments.
The amendment prohibits any new construction within 100 metres of the monument and puts several restrictions for construction between 101-300 metres. Every single individual and even public agencies need to get a nod from the National Monument Authority (NMA) for any construction and/or public utility work. In absence of heritage bye-laws, the NMA is clearing proposals resorting to the emergency clause.
It was decided that draft model bye-laws would be prepared for 13 monuments of different categories. Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a conservation NGO, was outsourced this work.
But even after many months, all that NMA is aware of is the first set of model heritage bye-laws for Sher Shah Suri Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil monuments near the Delhi High Court. "These bye-laws have been approved in principle," said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.
Draft bye-laws for 10-odd monuments are ready. "(But) We have not received any of the other bye-laws," Shrivastava added.
The delay can partly be attributed to the lack of clarity on part of the ASI officials. "There was no clarity as to who would get the heritage bye-laws done. Even the competent authority for the heritage bye-laws was appointed very late. And then, once the set up was in place, the sheer volume and scope of work is causing the delay," said a senior official.
BR Mani, ASI's competent authority for bye-laws, said, "After incorporating suggestions by us, INTACH is soon going to submit all the typologies for model bye-laws."