A new expert advisory committee comprising independent professionals would be formed to look into permissions for construction near Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monuments and all its decisions would be posted on the ASI website.
Apropos a new ordinance, effective since Saturday, the ASI would also re-draw the circle around the centrally protected monuments – a kind of regulatory zone – and inform Parliament about it.
This marks a clear change in the current rule of 100 metres of “prohibited area” and further 200 metres of “regulated area”.
The ordinance, named ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment & Validation) Ordinance 2010’, comes in the wake of the recent High Court ruling.
The court had declared as illegal the earlier July 2006-formed ASI committee, which had given more than 170 such permissions, the maximum in Delhi.
“The new experts advisory committee would comprise not just archaeologists but also town planners, architects,
conservationists and engineers among others,” Jawahar Sircar, Secretary (Culture) told HT on Wednesday.
The move will enable granting of permissions “keeping in mind the ground realities”.
“The permissions given by the earlier committee would be legally valid,” he said.
This should bring a huge respite to both the Delhi government and the Centre as the earlier committee had approved several of big-ticket infrastructure projects ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the national capital.
“Also, every time a repair, renovation, change in water pipes, sewage connection, etc., needs to be done, the new committee would take a decision on it,” he said, adding, the new ordinance also envisages posting on the ASI website each and every proposal discussed and the decision, too.
The Centre issues an ordinance when the Parliament is not in session. It has to be ratified by the government within six months to become a law.
Gaurang Kant, who had challenged the status of ASI’s earlier committee, has welcomed the ordinance but still has certain doubts.
“They are saying that all the permissions by this erstwhile committee are valid,” said Kant.
“But, what about the illegal construction which has been done since 1992 (since the 100 metres – 200 metres norms came into existence) till 2006 when this committee was formed? There has to be some parity,” he asserted.