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The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Act, 2010

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Source: TH 

Direction: The article highlights legal protection available to Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains in India.

 Context: According to the Ministry of Culture, Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of Centrally Protected Monuments which have been encroached upon, closely followed by Tamil Nadu.

Background:

  • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 is one of the landmark laws for the –
    • Preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance (over 100 years old).
    • Regulation of archaeological excavations and
    • Protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) functions under the provisions of this act.
  • India has a total of 3,695 Centrally Protected Monuments or Sites in the country, under the protection of the ASI.
  • The monuments are regularly inspected by the ASI officials to assess their present condition and the necessary conservation and preservation works are taken up as per the requirement.

 

2010 Amendment:

  • The AMASR Act 1958, was amended in 2010 to strengthen its penal provisions, to prevent encroachments and illegal construction close to the monuments – which was happening on a large scale.
  • The main features of the amendments:
    • Creation of a –
      • Prohibited area 100 metre around every national monument where no construction, public or private is permitted,
      • Regulated area 200 metres beyond the prohibited area, where any construction requires permission of a newly constituted National Monuments Authority.
    • Given the unique nature of each monument, the Act also proposed heritage by-laws for each monument to be prepared by an expert body.
  • Further amendments have been proposed which seek to do away with the ban on construction within 100 metres of an ASI-protected monument and regulate construction within 100-200 metres.

Concerns: Public works by the central and state governments around the monuments are causing disturbance to cultural or environmental heritage.

Way ahead: Development along with the lowest adverse impact on the cultural heritage and environment should be the aim of the governments.

Conclusion: Because India has a large untapped tourism potential, development should not come at the expense of our cultural or environmental heritage.

 

Insta Links:

AMASR Act

 

Mains Links:

Q. Examine why historians and archaeologists have expressed concern over amendments proposed to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958).