Old city beautification in Lucknow is violation of Monument Act, says ASI official | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Old city beautification in Lucknow is violation of Monument Act, says ASI official

The laying of cobblestones is causing water logging around the monument, leading to dampness, which is hazardous for the Imambara.

lucknow Updated: Apr 22, 2017 15:29 IST
HT Correspondent
Use of cobblestones in the Old city beautification project is one of the key reasons why ASI has approached its headquarters.
Use of cobblestones in the Old city beautification project is one of the key reasons why ASI has approached its headquarters.(HT File Photo)

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has approached its headquarters, seeking the future course of action in the old city beautification project, which it says is in ‘brazen’ violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act ( AMASR Act).

Of the many issues, the major one that forced the ASI to approach its headquarters is of cobble stones. Officials termed laying of cobble stones in the area illegal and said the government had sought permission from the National Monument Authority (NMA) only after it was served with a demolition notice.

“Initially, the SP government did not seek permission, either from the NMA or from the ASI and carried out the entire work illegally. It approached the NMA to obtain permission only after we raised alarm and served the constructing agencies a demolition notice,” said an ASI official.

The Issue
  • Of the many issues, the major one that forced the ASI to approach its headquarters is of cobble stones. Officials termed laying of cobble stones in the area illegal and said the government had sought permission from the National Monument Authority (NMA) only after it was served with a demolition notice.
  • Cobble stones on the stretch from Tile Wali Masjid to Chhota Imambara had also elevated the ground level, thus covering the iconic Rumi Darwaza. They had further elevated the ground level, causing waterlogging and dampness, which were dangerous for the monument, the ASI said.
  • NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow Circle said the government never sought any permission for other works carried out extensively in the Old City in violation of the AMASR Act. Some of the works include construction of the gate near the Picture Gallery and restoration of the pond in front of the structure.

e said now the ASI’s Lucknow Circle had approached its Delhi headquarters, demanding intervention. “In such a situation, the headquarters will decide the future course of action,” he added.

Other than the ‘illegality’, cobble stones on the stretch from Tile Wali Masjid to Chhota Imambara had also elevated the ground level, thus covering the iconic Rumi Darwaza, the official said.

“Over the years, the ground level (due to road construction) has increased by around 78cm. The laying of cobble stones further elevated the ground level. It is also causing water logging around the monument, leading to dampness, which is hazardous for the monument,” said NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow Circle.

In September 2016, the ASI had approached the state government, objecting to the laying of cobblestone. It had said that the stones did not gel with the monuments of the nawabi era. But the state officials turned deaf ears tow their plea.

Pathak said that the SP Government had sought permission only for two job works—one for laying of cobble stones (that too after the demolition notice) and the other for constructing a multilevel parking, which was in a prohibited area. Though the permission was granted, the elevated ground level near the Rumi Gate and subsequent danger to the monument gave the heritage watch dog in the city cause for concern, so it approached its headquarters, seeking the future course of action

Pathak said the government never sought any permission for other works carried out extensively in the Old City in violation of the AMASR Act. Some of the works include construction of the gate near the Picture Gallery and restoration of the pond in front of the structure.. Besides, he said the construction of community centre, pavements and all other work was purely ‘illegal’.

Read more: ASI to seek removal of cobblestones in heritage area of Lucknow