Lok Sabha passes bill for better care of ancient monuments

Last Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 22:21

New Delhi: Protection of ancient monuments and archaeological remains climbed a notch higher up the government`s agenda with the Lok Sabha Monday unanimously passing an amendment to the law safeguarding such sites.

The passing of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010, was accompanied by a spirited debate.
The bill, which was promulgated as an ordinance by President Pratibha Patil Jan 23, seeks to strengthen the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, and imposes stringent punishment on the violators of the act`s provisions.

The bill, piloted by Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily, stipulates that a minimum area of 100 metres in all directions of the protected monuments and sites shall be declared prohibited for purposes of construction and no private or public construction in the prohibited area will be allowed except those undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The ASI will be responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and management of the protected monuments and sites.

The bill says in addition to the 100 metres of prohibited area around the site, a minimum area of 200 metres in all directions of the protected site will be regulated.

No construction will also be allowed on these areas, "except in accordance and permitted by extent of the heritage bylaws" which will have to be approved by the central government which might extend it more than 200 metres.

The bill recommends the constitution of an expert committee, which will look after conservation of heritage. "The National Monument Authority will comprise archaeological and heritage experts and will work without any interference from the bureaucracy," Moily said.

Indira Gandhi`s ancestral house in discussion

"We also go and take care," retorted Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s when a SP MP told the Lok Sabha what his party has done to protect the ancestral house of Indira Gandhi.

During the discussion, SP MP Shailendra Kumar spoke
about the need to conserve `Swaraj Bhawan`, Indira Gandhi`s
birth place, in Allahabad.

Kumar said the SP had done a lot to protect the
monument which was donated to the Congress party by Motilal
Nehru in 1930.

"We also go and take care," was Sonia Gandhi`s reply.

-Agencies’ inputs

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First Published: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 22:21

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