File photo of Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy | Photo credit: The Hindu
Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of encroached Central Protected Monuments, closely followed by Tamil Nadu.
While 75 protected monument sites have been encroached upon in Uttar Pradesh, the corresponding number for Tamil Nadu is 74, Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha.
Uttar Pradesh also has the highest number of Central Protected monuments in the country with 743, while Tamil Nadu has 412.
A total of 356 heritage structures are included across the country, Mr. Reddy said in reply to a question raised by Congress MP Mukul Wasnik. In 2019, the government informed the Rajya Sabha that 321 protected monuments had their sites violated.
Karnataka and Maharashtra are third and fourth with 48 and 46 monuments invaded. Gujarat has protected 35 encroached monuments.
India has a total of 3,695 monuments or sites in the country under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Monuments are regularly inspected by ASI officials to assess their current condition. Necessary preservation and conservation works are taken up properly, the minister said.
The House was informed that among the various actions taken by the ASI were filing police complaints, issuing show cause notices to the builders to remove the said encroachments, and issuing demolition orders to the Collector asking them to demolish or remove the said encroachments. whenever necessary
ASI regulates construction around protected monuments through the Ancient Monuments and Sites and Archaeological Remains Act 2010.
The law prohibits the construction of 100 meters around a protected monument. The next 300 meter radius is also regulated.
Further amendments have been proposed to remove the ban on building within 100 meters of ASI-protected monument and regulate building within 100-200 meters, under the Act protecting monuments and sites over 100 years old.
This is expected to give the ASI more powers over raids.