NEW DELHI: With 2019-election deadline inching closer, the government has laid out a revised game plan for dealing with rules that prohibits constructions of Infrastructure projects in the close vicinity of protected monuments across the country. According to top sources, the Law Ministry has received the draft ordinance to allow the construction of infrastructure projects that falls under the definition of ‘Public Interest’. The proposed ordinance, which will replace the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMSAR) Amendment Act, 2010 drafted by the Ministry of Culture, has been sent to the Law Ministry for legal vetting before it is put up before the cabinet for final approval.
“The measures taken by the government mark a significant effort to push the projects stuck due to stringent rules envisaged in AMSAR act cleared in 2010. The government had received representation from the ministries and various other stakeholders that infrastructure projects in the public interests were held up due to the provision of the act. We needed a cutting-edge policy to address the public concern and expedite the construction of pending projects,” Sources said.
An elevated road in Agra, just the opposite of Akbar tomb has been held up after concerns were raised by the National Monument Authority that the last resting place of Mughal emperor may lose the heritage charm and a chance to be included in the list of world heritage sites. However, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) was of the view that an elevated road will not only ease the traffic but it would help bring down the pollution level near the Akbar’s monument.
Sources said when the issue was first flagged in 2015, the Culture Ministry had held several rounds of discussions with the stakeholders. Similarly, a road infrastructure project in Kolkata hit the bottleneck due to the strict provisions in the existing law. Until late 2016, various ministries wrestled with the idea of easing restriction on construction near protected monuments and bringing the flexibility to overcome the enormous obstacles framed under the AMSAR while preserving the unique appeal of ancient monuments to the Indian and foreign tourists.
“The revised proposed rules further underwent scrutiny for more than 3-4 months to strike an appropriate balance between importance of heritage sites and public welfare. It will ease the concerns raised by the experts as well. There was a consensus to remove the layers of requirements under existing regulations that discourage constructions related to utmost public importance,” Sources revealed.