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Is ASI turning blind eye to Delhi Metro work near Jantar Mantar?

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2012 00:52 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
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Unlike the way common man's un-authorised construction is dealt with, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not perused the case of on-going work by Delhi Metro at Janpath.

The ASI had issued notice to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in November 2011 despite which work goes on un-abated. A stretch of this work lies within 300 metres of Jantar Mantar, a protected monument.

Since an amendment in the Archaeological Act in 2010, while ASI has lodged FIRs against several property owners and in some cases, demolished on-going construction within 0-300 metres of a protected monument, no such logical perusal has been done in case of the Metro work.

National Monument Authority (NMA) clearance is mandatory for any proposal, which has been earlier cleared by the competent authority. DMRC's proposal for the Central Secretariat-Janpath-Mandi House-ITO-Red Fort-Kashmere Gate line is under NMA consideration at the moment.

Kumar Keshav, DMRC's director (projects), said, "We were given a 'show cause' notice and we replied to them. If somebody gives us a notice, we have to clarify our stand, it does not mean we should stop work."

"ASI has issued show cause notice, lodged FIR and taken up the matter with DMRC at the highest level protesting about it," an ASI official, who did not wish to be named, said.

Another official, who too did not wish to be named, said, "It is either for the NMA to take action as the proposal is pending with it or the area's civic agency."

Pravin Shrivastava, member secretary, NMA, said, the ASI cannot shy away from its duty. "Ministry of Culture had last year passed an order which clearly mentions that encroachment removal from a protected monument or a site and stopping unauthorised construction is the responsibility of the ASI," he said.

'Underground line with no structure above'
Following DMRC's presentation about phase 3 at Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) on January 11, among other things, the commission recommended that the underground line should preferably be under an area where there are no structures above and the alignment should take into consideration the ground situation.

The Central Secretariat - Janpath -ITO - Red Fort - Kashmere Gate underground line, part of phase 3, passes below protected monuments.