In News: the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2022 has been listed by the government for introduction and passing in the monsoon session.
- The planned revision to Section 20 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act is
- In a current law, Section 20 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958, last amended in 2010, prohibits construction within a 100 metre radius of all Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments and regulates activities within another 300 metre radius.
- The new Bill proposes to revise this section.
- Henceforth, expert committees will decide on the extent of the prohibited and regulated areas around each monument and activities permitted herein.
- The ASI would be given enforcement powers such as in the Forest Act which would empower it to act against those encroaching at protested sites.
- Archaeological Sites across India have become commons for human and animal communities.
- Altering land around ASI-protected monuments into industrial, commercial, or even residential plots will thus deprive human and animal communities of much-needed commons.
- Permitting construction work risks weakening the foundations of centuries-old edifices.
- Also construction machines may disturb the art facets near the site, thus making the task of undertaking new research more difficult
- Domestic waste and greywater regularly seep into ancient sites any changes in protection status now will aggravate this problems.
- In recent years, the Government has built new highways, metro-rail systems, and industrial parks without methodical archaeological impact assessments.
- These projects have led to the shattering of an untold number of historical artefacts and the casual collection of many others. We cannot afford to lose more of our tangible heritage.
Now is the time to learn from painstaking efforts to preserve our composite tangible heritage and the ecosystems that they are in. Any modification to the present act requires proper examination with the involvement of various stakeholder and proper analysis of its consequences.
Source: The Hindu