Stringent punishment for desecration of monuments
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 20:22
New Delhi: Stringent punishment can be meted out to those indulging in desecration of archaeological monuments with Parliament passing a bill that also provides for setting up a body to define heritage structures.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remain (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010, earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, was approved by the Rajya Sabha today.

It will replace an Ordinance promulgated in January this year. Certain provisions added to the Bill, which were absent in the Ordinance, include defining the prohibited area for purposes of construction around the protected monuments.

The punishment for the violators is being extended from three months imprisonment to up to two years or fine up to Rs one lakh from Rs 5,000 now.

Winding up the debate, Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily said once areas around the archaeological and heritage sites are demarcated, "we can graduate to greater punishment".

The proposed National Monument Authority will comprise archaeological and heritage experts and will work without any interference from judiciary or bureaucracy, he said.

As per the bill, no construction will be allowed in the regulated areas, which will be 200 meters in all directions from the prohibited place surrounding the protected monuments.

The bill also empowers the National Authority to approve large scale development projects to be set up in regulated areas.

Responding to members' demand for setting up a National Heritage Commission, Moily said a proposal to this effect is before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.


First Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 20:22

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