The National Monument Authority (NMA) has permitted construction on a plot within 100 metres of a centrally protected monument in Hauz Khas. This decision in absence of heritage byelaws has drawn heavy criticism from others facing a similar predicament.
There are many people in the Capital whose properties have been adversely affected due to the 2010 amendment, under which no new construction is allowed within the prohibited area (0-100 metres) of an Archaeological Survey of India property. There are several restrictions within the regulated area (101-300 metres) too - construction can be done only in accordance with the monument-specific heritage byelaws, the first set of which are yet to be finalised.
Vijay Singh, the competent authority for Delhi, gave permission for construction on a vacant plot, 82 metres away from Makhdumi Masjid. The masjid is an ASI protected monument in Mayfair Gardens, Hauz Khas and falls in category VII in terms of its architectural and historic importance.
“The proposed construction in the regulated area, after leaving 100 metres of prohibited area, is recommended subject to certain conditions,” said Singh’s letter, accessed by HT, to the NMA in December 2011. “The NMA cleared the proposal in its meeting on January 31,” said a source.
This has, however, ruffled many feathers as several owners of properties in plush south Delhi colonies situated in the vicinity of protected monuments have not been allowed to carry out construction. Moreover, their properties are witnessing depreciation. RK Jain from Safdarjung Development Area, who is awaiting permission for construction on his property in prohibited area (68 metres from protected Biran Ka Gumbad) said he knew several other people who were facing a similar fate. “The government wants to protect heritage, and it should, but people should be given adequate compensation,” he fumed.
Suresh Kumar Khera, who had sought the permission, however said, “I am committed to construction as per law. More than half the plot will be unused and construction will take place beyond 100 metres.”
“Permission has been given for regulated area leaving prohibited area,” Singh said.
NMA cleared the proposal only after recommendation of the competent authority. “Permission has been stated with a specific stipulation. In case of violation, the person is liable for punishment as per law,” said Pravin Shrivastava, member secretary, NMA.