Manjit Singh Chug never thought that Bade Khan and Chhote Khan would make his life miserable. He doesn’t have anything against the two men, nor does he know who they are. But thanks to the tombs of the duo right across his residence in South Extension-I, Chug can’t even move a brick from the wall of his own house.
Chug’s two-storey house, built in 1959, is barely 50 feet away from the boundary wall of the ASI-protected monuments — tombs of Bade Khan and Chhote Khan. “This parapet wall needs immediate repairs. In fact, not just this, our entire house needs repairs. But we cannot do any kind of emergency repair work,” Chug said, showing the corroded iron rods jutting out of the wall.
“Why should a common man suffer because of the change in law brought about due to a mistake of some officials?”
Chug’s not alone in his battle. Delhi has 174 small and big monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Barring the exception of a few, the rest are situated in densely populated area. Since the amendment in heritage law in March 2010, the ASI has been sending away applications for granting permission for construction/repair for property near a protected monument. Even though a competent authority was appointed for Delhi in December 2010, in absence of the National Monument Authority (NMA), the monument-specific heritage byelaws and rules for the functioning of the authorities, no permission for repairs/construction can be given.
Officials said the NMA, mandatory under the Ancient Monuments and Ancient Sites & Remains Act (Amendment & Validation) Act 2010, is taking shape.
Jawahar Sircar, secretary, ministry of culture, said: “We have already appointed competent authorities and the NMA’s member secretary.” Rough draft rules are also in place. By January-end, five full- time and five part time members would be selected.
But the main task would follow after this.
“Ground survey for every single monument would have to be carried out before coming up with the monument-specific byelaws so that any application even for repairs could be considered,” Sircar added.