The government is finally moving forward to protect unprotected monuments, heritage buildings and sites in the country that are fast disappearing.
Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni informed the Lok Sabha this week that the government proposes to constitute a Heritage Sites Commission as the present legal and institutional framework is inadequate to address the conservation of built heritage in its broadest outline.
The commission would lay down broad policy guidelines and take steps to ensure that such guidelines are observed. The functions of the proposed Heritage Sites Commission would include: advising government on heritage matters, framing guidelines for conservation of heritage monuments and sites, co-ordinate studies on important matters regarding conservation of heritage and submit reports to the government and suggest amendments to the existing heritage legislations.
According to the Minister, a draft legislation in this regard has been framed and is being examined by the Ministry of Law and other Ministries/Departments.
Though Delhi has over 1,200 monuments and heritage buildings, only 166 are protected. A number of buildings and sites listed by Zafar Hasan for the British rulers in 1916, which was followed up by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage list in the year 2000, have disappeared from Delhi under the onslaught of urbanisation.
Conservation in Delhi first started in 1871 with the report on Delhi and Agra. Lord Curzon got the Qutab Complex landscaped in 1904. A large number of monuments were freed of encroachers and protected between 1904 and 1930s.
Conservation activists say that the list has to be put within the legal regime so that municipalities and Delhi Development Authority do not sanction buildings at the cost of pulling down heritage buildings.
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functions of the Commission will include: advising government on heritage matters, framing guidelines for conservation of monuments and sites, co-ordinate studies on matters regarding conservation of heritage and submit reports to government and suggest amendments
to existing heritage laws