The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the amendments to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, to pave the way for several stalled developmental projects, including expansion of Metro and roads and building bridges. The proposed amendment allows construction of public infrastructure such as highways, bridges and airports within 100 metres of monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The original Act prohibited any construction around 100 metres of a historical building or place.In May last year, the Union cabinet cleared a proposal to amend the law, following reports that the restriction is affecting the government’s development projects. Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that a number of infrastructure projects were stalled due to the law. “Projects like the 112-years-old bridge in Kolhapur, which is 40 metres away from a monument, Metro rail projects in Kolkata and Pune, proposed bridges on the Yamuna, etc, had been stuck for a long time due to restrictions. The new Bill would pave the way for these projects which are coming up in the interest and the safety of the people,” Sharma said.Hundreds of people could die if the Kolhapur bridge falls any day, and it needed reconstruction, he saidThe India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) realigned its 1.1km Mathura Road-Ring Road underpass cutting through Pragati Maidan as the project was too close to Purana Qila and Sher Shah Suri’s fort. The original layout failed to evade the 100-metre cap.The amended law will do away with such stumbling blocks, but only for projects approved and sanctioned by the Union government.