The National Monument Authority (NMA) has asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation not to carry out work within 300 metres of any centrally protected monuments for its under-construction Central Secretariat-ITO-Kashmere Gate line as part of its Phase 3 of expansion.
Since 2011, the DMRC has been carrying out work at several places along the underground 9km-long corridor that passes a number of heritage monuments, many of them protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
A distance of 0-100 metres from any ASI-protected monument is called the prohibited area, where no new construction is allowed, and a further distance of 101-300 metres is the regulated area.In view of the fact that the alignment falls within prohibited and regulated areas of several ASI-protected monuments among other heritage structures, the NMA has asked the DMRC to submit a heritage impact assessment report.
The DMRC, on the other hand, is going ahead with its work.
The NMA has been regularly taking up the matter with Metro officials in meetings over the past few months.
“The topic was again discussed during a meeting on July 16. We have now written to them, ‘You are once against being told that no work should be carried out in regulated or prohibited area of any protected monument’,” said Pravin Shrivastava, the NMA’s member secretary.
A senior ASI official from the Delhi circle said, “We have issued the DMRC a number of notices for construction in regulated areas. We cannot go and stop the work ourselves, the action has to be taken by the civic agency.”
“If work does not stop even after the notices, one can either register a police complaint or approach the court,” said the NMA official. But DMRC officials seemed hardly bothered about either the letter or the notices. Jitender Tyagi, the DMRC’s director (works), said the utility had replied to all notices.
Maintaining that the DMRC is not carrying out any work in the prohibited area of any monument, he added, “As for work in the regulated area is concerned, we have already applied. Our proposal is under consideration of the NMA, which has made no adverse comment as yet. It is only a formality that they have to complete.”