Are protected structures really protected?
SURPRISING None of the owners of 60 protected monuments in Lucknow have signed agreement with ASI, which is a mandate under Section 6 of AMASR Act, 1958
LUCKNOW: It’s been more than 90 years since monuments in and around Lucknow got the centrally protected status.
But not a single owner has entered into an agreement with the custodian of these structures (ASI), which is a mandate under Section 6 of Ancient Monuments and Sites Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 (as amended in 2010).
There are over 60 protected monuments in the state capital, but none have signed the agreement, said Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials.
How does it affect the monument? As per Section 6 of AMASR Act 1958, the collector has to propose the owner of the protected monument to enter into an agreement with the central government (ASI) within a specified period for the maintenance of the monument.
The agreement also includes clarification on points like maintenance of the monument, its custody, restriction of the owner’s right and other issues.
But in the absence of such agreement, the so-called owners of the monuments are misusing the structures.
ASI officials said the “illegal and unethical construction” at Chhota Imambada in which cement was used instead of permissible surkhi and lime is perhaps a glaring example where its owner (HAT) misused the structure, causing irreversible damage to it.
“HAT has not entered into any agreement with the ASI as it is required to sign under Section 6 of the AMASR Act, 1958,”— reads ASI’s letter to its headquarters.
The ASI disclosed this fact in response to the RTI by a citybased heritage enthusiast, seeking information about the status of the presentation he made on October 15, 2014 regarding the induction of Clock Tower in ASI’s protection list under Section 4 of Ancient Monuments and Sites Remains Act, 1958 (as amended in 2010).
“I had given a presentation in 2015 to secretary culture, Government of India and director general ASI, asking them why Lucknow’s Clock Tower does not find place on its protection list when it qualifies the terms in Section 2 (a) of AMASR Act, 1958,” said S Mohammed Haider, a heritage enthusiast who later filed an RTI to know the progress on his presentation.
In response to the RTI, the ASI also blamed HAT for Chhota Imambada’s condition.
The ASI mentioned that HAT is not ready to enter into an agreement with it — a mandate under Section 6 of the act. The city has over 60 protected monuments. But, as per ASI’s Lucknow Circle, not even a single monument has entered into an agreement.
The ASI also alleged several illegal interventions by the HAT and district administration in context to the centrally protected monument and encroachment in its vicinity.
“In this situation, it is not advisable to take the clock tower under central protection without total control over the structure,” the ASI’s letter further reads.
“We are making sincere efforts for the agreement. But HAT is playing no heed towards our reminders. It’s perhaps the most important section of act as it fixes the responsibilities of the stake holders,” said Indu Prakash, superintending archaeologist, Lucknow Circle, Archaeological Survey of India.
The Clock Tower in Old City.