A recent amendment in the archaeological-monuments-related act has put a question mark on the future of several infrastructure projects — either under-construction or planned — in Delhi.
IN THE DEEP
2. Parade Ground Parking (MCD): within 300 metres of Red Fort
3. KG Marg parking (NDMC): within 300 m of Ugrasen ki Baoli
4. Aurobindo Place Parking (MCD): within 300 metres of Barakhamba monument in Green Park
5. Mohammadpur Parking (MCD): within 300 m of Teen Burji monument, Mohammadpur
Keeping in line with the provisions of the amended Act, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has issued notices to several government agencies as the projects taken up by them are within 100 metres or 300 metres of a centrally protected monument.
These agencies include Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Public Works Department (PWD) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), among others, carrying out different projects ranging from parking lots to bus terminus.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010, signed by the President on March 30, provides for a total ban on any kind of construction within 100 metres — called the protected area — of a centrally protected monument. This protected area can be more than 100 metres for important/bigger monuments. There would be a further 200 metres of regulated area. Construction in the regulated area could be possible but strictly according to heritage bye-laws.
The Act clearly states that the government (too) should plan projects in such a way that none of them will fall within the prohibited area of any monument.
“We have refused permission to several projects and issued notices to those agencies which have started work without our permission,” said an ASI spokesperson.
While the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has not gone ahead full steam with the work for a multi-level parking project on Kasturba Gandhi Marg, several other agencies have started work in order to complete the projects before Commonwealth Games.