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If you live within 100 metres of a centrally protected monument, you cannot expand your property anymore, according to an amendment to an Act on the protection of monuments. In a major step towards protection of monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), President Pratibha

Patil on Wednesday signed the amendment to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Remains and Sites Act, 1958, which envisages ban on construction in the prohibited area of the ASI-protected monument. The amendment increases penalty for the violators, who shall now be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding two years or fine, which may extend to Rs. 1 lakh or both.

Even the government cannot push for any infrastructure project in the prohibited area.

According to the Act, a protected monument will have a ‘prohibited area’ of minimum 100 metres, which can be more. There would be no more construction allowed in this area; but only repairs for basics such as water and sanitation. It also allows no horizontal or vertical expansion.

There would be a further 200 metres of regulated area. Construction in this area could be possible but it’d be strictly according to heritage bylaws.

The Act also provides for monument-specific bylaws. “Till bylaws come into existence, all construction activity freezes across India,” Jawahar Sarkar, Secretary (Culture) told HT.

Creation of NMA

The Act also provides for creating a new National Monument Authority (NMA), which would first work towards categorisation of the monuments and would be the ultimate authority in granting permissions.

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