Over 50 scholars, historians and architects have asked the Centre not to go ahead with amendments to the Ancients Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 2010, approved by the Union Cabinet, which allows construction within 100 m of protected monuments. They have argued that by doing so, it will lead to “irreversible damage” to historical structures.
M Saleem Beg, former Director General, Tourism, and member of National Monuments Authority, and historians Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib are among those who have signed the statement issued by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust.
“We have received with great dismay the recent news report that the Union Cabinet has approved amendment to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 2010 and that it has been decided to allow centrally-funded projects to be set up in the prohibited area of the nationally protected monuments,” the statement reads.
“If the amendment is given effect, new construction will take place in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of National importance…Historic structures and archaeological remains are considered to be the most susceptible to heavy vibrations, chemical effects or mechanical stresses in this zone…Construction activity of any nature will inflict irreversible damage to the monument as well as to the prospect of future study and understanding of the historic context of the site,” it adds.