There is some good news for those who have been waiting for ASI's permission for construction near a centrally protected monument. The wait, however, is not entirely over.
Since the heritage law was amended in March, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials had been sending away applications to grant permission for construction or repair of private and public property near a protected monument, saying only a competent authority is entitled to do so.
Before the amendment of the Ancient Monuments and Ancient Sites & Remains Act, ASI granted permission for the construction or repairs in regulated area — anywhere up to 200m around a protected monument).
Delhi finally got its own competent authority — mandatory as per the amendment. Confirmed ASI director general Gautam Sengupta, "The official gazette notification has named Vijay Singh as the competent authority for Delhi."
Singh, currently posted in the Delhi government's urban development department, was earlier deputy commissioner of MCD's city zone.
However, Singh as “competent authority” cannot function to full capacity until rules for the amendment and monument-specific byelaws are in place.
“The rules have been frames, the law ministry has approved it and it is now awaiting clearance from the Prime Minister, who looks after the culture ministry directly,” said a source, requesting anonymity.
There would be a provisional notification, then reactions and responses would be called in and then a final notification would be issued. “After all this, (when) monument-specific byelaws would be in place, based on which the competent authority would be able to recommend or reject any given application,” the source added.