Miranda House's expansion plans following grants under the Other Backward Quota (OBC) quota have hit a heritage roadblock. The college lies near the Rajpura Cemetery, which dates back to early 19th century. Although lost to urbanisation, the cemetry is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as well as the amended archaeological act.
These may delay the college's plans to extend its existing hostel block and of adding a new academic block.
The expansion is part of the "OBC expansion plan" under which every college of the Delhi University increased the number of seats by 27 %, necessitating increase in infrastructure and logistics.
Pratibha Jolly, Miranda House principal, said the students' number at her college has increased from about 2,000 to more than 3,000 in the past three years. "We need to increase hostel strength, need new lecture theatres and other facilities. We are committed to deliver the best of facilities to our students," Jolly said.
The proposed hostel extension block would be approximately 350 metres away from the cemetery, which lies south of the college premises. The proposed new academic block has been planned approximately 200 metres away from it, she added.
While there can be no construction in the prohibited area (0-100 metres) of a protected monument as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010-also known as AMASR-there are several restrictions for construction in the regulated area (100-300 metres).
Miranda House has already sent the formal application to the competent authority (CA) for Delhi, Vijay Singh.
"If the hostel extension building is beyond the regulated area, it should pose no problems and will be cleared soon. But if the proposed constructions fall in the regulated area, it will have to undergo the entire procedure," Singh said.
Miranda House is not the only educational institute that is eager for this permission. Similar requests from Hindu College, Kamla Nehru College and DPS Mathura Road too are pending at the CA's office.
However, the CA can only make recommendations. The actual permission will be given or rejected by the National Monument Authority (NMA).