Heritage activists unhappy over amendment to AMASR Act

Heritage activists unhappy over amendment to AMASR Act

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Heritage activists unhappy over amendment to AMSAR Act -min

Heritage activists unhappy over amendment to AMSAR Act -min
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The new law is expected to give new lease of life for some of the infrastructure projects like a parking lot on Kasturba Gandhi Marg, underground parking at Shahid Bhagat Singh Park, bridge near Salimgarh Fort, tunnel through Sunder Nursery – all in Delhi, which were earlier scrapped or stalled because they fell within 100 metres of protected national monuments

Passing of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill 2017 in the Lok Sabha recently, may have some far-reaching repercussions on country’s ancient heritage sites and monuments. The amendment allows government to take up infrastructure projects within the 100 metre prohibited periphery around protected monuments. At the same time, the new law is expected to give new lease of life for some of the infrastructure projects like a parking lot on Kasturba Gandhi Marg, underground parking at Shahid Bhagat Singh Park, bridge near Salimgarh Fort, tunnel through Sunder Nursery – all in Delhi, which were earlier scrapped or stalled because they fell within 100 metres of protected national monuments.

The Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1993 (AMASR Act) had included the prohibited (100m) and regulated (101-300m) area restrictions in order to safeguard protected monuments. There are 173 of them in the capital, and over 3,600 across the country. The Act was amended in 2010 to set up the National Monuments Authority as the agency to enforce the 100-m ban.

While the conservationists are up in arms over the amendment, residents living within these controlled zones are a relieved lot as earlier they couldn’t even repair their houses without permission.

However, heritage activists feel that there will be no one to check the damages that ancient structures will suffer from such development projects as the Government agencies anyway have never exhibited sensitivity about protecting heritage. Their fear stems from the fact that damage to monuments might not only be visual but also structural.