Here's some good news for Delhiites staying near protected heritage monuments and waiting for permission to carry out repairs and renovation. Delhi has 174 small and big ASI-protected monuments.
Barring very few, the rest of them are located in densely-populated areas.
Following an amendment in the ASI Act in March 2010, any kind of construction activity near heritage monuments has literally frozen for those who go by the rulebook.
In a step towards implementation of the amendment, the Ministry of Culture on Tuesday held its first meeting of competent authorities from across the country to discuss modalities related to implementation, including rules and monument-specific heritage byelaws.
A competent authority appointed in each state — Delhi got it in December 2010 — as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Ancient Sites & Remains (Amendment & Validation) Act 2010 will forward eligible proposals for repairs/construction to the National Monument Authority (NMA), which, too, is a mandatory provision under the amendment.
Jawahar Sircar, secretary (Culture) said, "Draft rules for the amended Act have been notified on January 29 and would be finalised after a month.
“The NMA should come up by mid-March."
While the forming of the NMA is being taken care of by the Centre, it was the respective state governments that appointed competent authorities.
The state and the Centre would now be working in tandem for heritage preservation. Deepali Khanna, assistant secretary (F&A) described the meeting as an occasion that has "brought in the states and the Centre together to work in a cohesive manner."
However, this is just the first step and it may take more time for all formalities to be completed.
Even though all competent authorities have been appointed — Delhi got it in December 2010 — and even if NMA gets in shape by March, the monument-specific heritage byelaws and rules for the functioning of authorities would take time.
Without these, no official would be able to give permission for repairs/construction.