In a first for any monument in India, the National Monument Authority (NMA) on Friday asked for revision of the draft heritage by-laws for Sher Shah Suri Gate and Khairul Manazil.
The competent authority for the by-laws appointed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had outsourced the job to the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). These are needed to regulate new construction/redevelopment in the prohibited area (0-100 metres) and regulated area (101-300 metres) of the ASI-protected monuments. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act passed in March 2010 had necessitated the byelaws.
The draft by-laws contain brief history of monuments, maps, photos, land use to be identified, archaeological ruins apart from the notified monument area and building-related parametres. “The language for the by-laws is not legalese but more of ‘should be/would be’ kind of suggestions not tenable under law,” said a member, requesting anonymity.
He said, “Another missing point is the ‘integration’ of Purana Qila’s prohibited and regulated areas, which sits bang opposite the fort and can’t be ignored.”
Sudhir Vohra, an architect and urban planner questioned how the draft restricts the height of High Court buildings in regulated area to 30 metres while that for government housing at Bapa Nagar and Kaka Nagar to 7.5 metres? Vohra was the only one to respond to NMA’s appeal seeking suggestions/objections.
“If the government plans to redevelop housing eyeing vertical growth in future, why should it be restricted to only 7.5 metres? If more parts of Bapa Nagar are to be given over for High Court, as has happened in the past, would the restriction remain relevant?” Vohra asked.
AGK Menon from INTACH said, “I made a presentation on the rationale for the Sher Shah gate by- laws and left. I don’t know what transpired in the meeting after that.”
“The competent authority has been asked to revise the byelaws based in 15 days,” Pravin Srivastava, NMA member secretary said.