Archaeology dept has teeth but can’t bite

Buildings blatantly violate ancient monuments protection and preservation norms even as AMC passes the buck

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: March 29, 2015 2:55 am
Violation of ancient monuments, ancient monuments protection, preservation laws, Kalupur Darwaza, Archaeological Survey of India, ASI, Kalupur circle, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Asif Agharia, AMC, I K Patel Two buildings being constructed in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad. (Source: Express photo)

In a case of blatant violation of ancient monuments protection and preservation laws, two commercial buildings adjacent to each other are coming up next to the Kalupur Darwaza, a monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). As per the rules to be observed, no structure can come up within a distance of a hundred metres. This gate near Kalupur circle is one of the existing 12 gates of ancient walled city of Ahmedabad.

The ASI has sent several notices to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to stall the project, but has not received any response. The law prohibits any construction or infrastructural changes within 100 metres of a protected structure.

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The strict observance of this rule by ASI may have stalled government projects for a long time now, but it has no control over mushrooming of structures in violation of this rule in Ahmedabad. The building in question was allowed to carry out repair of ground  plus one floor. But the building has now grown up to four floors.

Asif Agharia, ASI officer posted in Ahmedabad, when contacted by this paper, said, “We cannot take any executive action against the violators other than issuing notice, we cannot physically prevent any such illegal activity.”

“I have forwarded hundreds of notices and sent copies to the AMC and the police but to no avail. They have not even cared to acknowledge the correspondence,” Agharia said. He claimed the letters were addressed to the violating parties and copies were marked to the AMC.

Deputy municipal commissioner (central zone) I K Patel admits that the structure had permission for ground floor -plus one floor only but not the third and fourth floors. “The additional construction is absolutely illegal and I will see to it that it will be sealed in a couple of days,” Patel said.

“There is no way to separate ASI-linked notices from the general case of  building law violations and it will take more time to work out the figure but at least a hundred notices have been issued in response to the ASI pointers,” he said.

He said that in the absence of police cover for such operations, the civic body could not do much.

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