LS clears bill to allow projects inside protected monuments, archaeological sites

LS clears bill to allow projects inside protected monuments, archaeological sites

A bill to allow execution of infrastructure development projects within the prohibited area of protected monuments and other archaeological sites for "public safety and security" got Lok Sabha's approval on Tuesday.

The Congress, Biju Janata Dal and some other parties, however, opposed the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017, during debate. They said the amendment bill seeks to give "arbitrary powers" to the Centre to allow constructions at protected monuments and other historical sites in the country "which can be misused to destroy national heritage".

Replying to the debate, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma assured the Lok Sabha that the government will allow construction work or infrastructure projects in such areas only "in the rarest of rare circumstances" in larger public interest.

He also assured the House that a proper assessment of the impact of the proposed projects will be conducted before giving green signal to such proposals.

The immediate reason for the government to bring in the amendment are pending proposals for renovation of a dilapidated bridge located in close vicinity of a historical site in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, the construction of an elevated road in front of Akbar's tomb at Sikandra, Uttar Pradesh, a metro rail project in Pune and another in West Bengal.

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