While filmmakers have discovered a new-found love for the Capital,and its protected monuments,the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) plans to make them cough up more for shooting in such structures.
The ASI at present charges a flat rate of Rs 5,000 per day for shooting films in any of the Capitals 174 protected monuments under its authority. But ASI officials agree that the rates are abysmally low they were structured when the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act was framed in 1958.
The conservation body now plans to frame new policies to introduce revised rates for the first time in 51 years.
A senior official from ASIs Delhi circle (name withheld on request) says the department has discussed the issue with new ASI director-general V K Srivastava,and plans are underway to revise the rates for allowing the shooting of films in protected monuments.
The producers make crores from these movies while the government gets a negligible amount, the official rues. We had suggested a rate of Rs 3 lakh per day but the D-G (Srivastava) proposed Rs 10 lakhs for world heritage sites and Rs 5 lakh for all other monuments.
Heritage conservationists have also questioned the low rates on many an occasion. They are of the opinion that the ASI should charge more for allowing shoots and retain the money to use it for conservation purposes.
The custodians of heritage properties need to ensure that film shootings benefit conservation through substantial monetary gain, says Ratish Nanda,a heritage conservation architect.
Another senior heritage conservationist says: The ASI offers monuments at dirt-cheap rates that are obsolete while private owners of forts and palaces,such as the Neemrana chain of fort palaces,have been able to maintain their heritage structures only because they charge a reasonable amount for their locales.
But the money collected as fee for such film shoots goes into the Consolidated Fund of India,and thus cannot be spent on the monuments. There needs to be a change in policy matter; the money should be retained with ASI,or the monument itself. This will help conserve them, says A G K Menon,convener of the Delhi chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).