Lok Sabha Passes Bill To Build Public Projects In Protected Monuments
A Bill to allow the government to take up infrastructure projects within prohibited areas around protected monuments was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 2.
"Moving away from the party lines, the members have supported the Bill," Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said while replying to the concerns raised by the members during the debate on Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
"We are happy to say that in the last three years UNESCO has recognised six monuments (of India)," the minister said.
The bar on new construction within prohibited areas of a protected monument was adversely affecting various public works and developmental projects of the Central government, the Bill's Statement of Objects and Reasons said. Amendments have been proposed in the legislation to the 1958 Act that prohibits carrying out any public work or project or other constructions in any prohibited area around protected monuments.
A prohibited area means land in the 100-metre radius around a protected monument. Currently, construction is not allowed in the prohibited areas except repair and renovation works.
Addressing the concerns of Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, the minister said the change was being brought in the national interest.
The government said the need was felt to amend the law to allow "construction works related to infrastructure financed and carried out by any department or office of the Central government for public purposes which is necessary for the safety or security of the public at large". Besides, such construction works would be taken up when there is no possibility of any other viable alternative to such construction beyond the limits of the prohibited area.
The Bill also seeks to have a new definition of "public works" under the Act.
There are more than 3,600 monuments and sites that are Centrally-protected under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India, which is responsible for their maintenance.
With inputs from Housing News