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New Metro line in law ministry’s court

The issue of construction work ‘within 100 metre of a centrally protected monument’ is back to haunt the proposed Central Secretariat-Janpath-ITO-Red Fort-Kashmere Gate corridor of the Delhi Metro. Nivedita Khandekar reports .

delhi Updated: Dec 21, 2011 23:37 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

The issue of construction work ‘within 100 metre of a centrally protected monument’ is back to haunt the proposed Central Secretariat-Janpath-ITO-Red Fort-Kashmere Gate corridor of the Delhi Metro.

The National Monument Authority (NMA) has sought opinion from the law ministry as to what exactly would mean 100 metre in all directions vis-à-vis the ban on any construction in the prohibited area (0-100 metre) of a centrally protected monument.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal for the new underground corridor that passes near and below a number of heritage structures has been pending with the NMA for almost four months now after the competent authority for Delhi cleared it in the first week of August.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had, in the first week of November, issued stop work notice to DMRC for work at Janpath in wake of the violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010. As per the amendment, only the NMA can clear or stop any construction within 0-300 metre of an ASI protected monument.

At few places along the corridor, the stations, the tunnel or entry-exit points for the stations of the corridor lie near ASI-protected monuments, some within the regulated area (100-300 metre distance from the monument) while few within the prohibited area.

For instance, the slanted depth of the proposed Delhi Gate underground Metro station is 30.391 metre from Khooni Darwaza while the slanted depth of the underground portion of the Kashmere Gate station from the Kashmere Gate monument is 13.51 metre.

The amended law describes prohibited areas being that within 0-100 metre in all directions of a protected monument giving scope to the debate if it means ‘in all directions, including underground’ or ‘all directions above ground’, prompting the NMA’s step.

“The NMA is obtaining opinion from the law ministry on the issue,” confirmed Pravin Shrivastava, member secretary, NMA.

DMRC spokesperson said, “We are in the process of compiling the replies and would be sending it to NMA soon.”

Meanwhile, sources from the ASI said, DMRC’s work at Janpath has continued unabated despite the stop work notice served last month. DMRC has called it as preparatory work.