Two years after an amendment in the Archaeological Act came into force, the Delhi Police have registered just 19 FIRs across three police stations as against more than 300 complaints lodged by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in connection with unauthorised construction.
The March 2010 amendment prohibited any new construction in the prohibited areas (0 to 100 metres) and had put several restrictions for the same in regulated areas (101 to 300 metres) of a centrally protected monument. It also envisaged stringent punishment for the Central government officials who did not stop unauthorised construction in these areas.
Since the amendment came into effect, the ASI officials went on a complaint-filing spree. Nizamuddin, Mehrauli and Hauz Khas are the three areas with a relatively large number of ASI-protected monuments. Hence, the number of complaints regarding unauthorised construction has always been high in these areas.
“We carry out our procedure diligently. We issue showcause notice to the property owner or the one carrying out construction, inform the civic body and lodge a complaint with the local police,” said an ASI official.
When HT enquired about the FIRs registered since the amendment till December 2011 at Mehrauli, Hauz Khas and Nizamuddin police stations, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, “There are 19 FIRs registered between April 2010 and December 2011.”
“It is a case-specific issue. There are various reasons which differ from complaint to complaint,” said a official.