Over a year after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) slapped its first stop-work notice on Delhi Metro for its controversial Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate line, the heritage body has failed to take any conclusive action.
The ASI’s final demolition notice enables a civic agency to actually ‘raze’ unauthorised construction going on in regulated/protected areas.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal for this line is pending with the National Monument Authority (NMA) and hence the ASI had issued notices.
But as the ASI did not issue the ‘final demolition notice’, work on the line passing through a heritage corridor — Mandi House, Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort — has continued unabated.
During the same duration, ASI had sent more than three dozens ‘final demolition notices’ for private construction near its monuments.
The ASI’s stop work notices to Metro, the first in November 2011, were issued because DMRC’s work was being carried out in the regulated area (101-300 metres) of centrally-protected monuments.
After an amendment in the Archaeological Act in March 2010, no new construction is allowed within 100 metres (prohibited area) and there are several restrictions on construction within the regulated area of ASI monuments.
The proposal is pending with the National Monument Authority (NMA).
Admitting that the ASI "had indeed issued dozens of final demolition notices for private construction," Gautam Sengupta, ASI director general, failed to justify no action against the DMRC.
"We are examining the matter in all details and we will act accordingly," Sengupta told HT.
The DMRC claimed "compliance of all notices" to justify its continued work. Explained DK Saini, director (projects): "We are not damaging any heritage. We are making all out efforts to finish the work on this line by December."
NMA member secretary Pravin Srivastava said, "I am aware it (the proposal for this line) has been with NMA long enough. A decision would be taken soon."