Rules for Protection and Preservation of ASI Monuments

Context- Parliamentary panel called for revising rules of construction around protected ASI
About (AMASR) Act, 1958

  • The AMASR Act was passed by the Parliament in 1958 for the purpose of protection and
    preservation of archaeological and historical monuments and sites.
  • It also provides for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for the protection of
    sculptures, carvings and other such objects.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India functions under the provisions of this Act.
  • The prohibited and restricted area provision was introduced in 2010 through an
    amendment to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR)
    Act, 1958.
  • It prohibits and regulates all activities like mining and construction around 100 metres
    and 300 metres.
  • The AMASR Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2017
  • Amendments in the Bill include allowing the construction of public works in “prohibited
    areas”, and the approval and impact assessment of such public works.
    What Qualifies as an “Ancient Monument” and “Archaeological Sites and Remains”?
    – In the original Act of 1958, “ancient monument” is defined as “any structure, erection,
    or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture,
    inscription, or monolith which is of historical, archaeological, or artistic interest and
    which has been in existence for not less than 100 years”.
    – “Archaeological sites and remains” mean “any area which contains or is reasonably
    believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance which have
    been in existence for not less than 100 years”.
  • A Parliamentary panel has observed that the provision of 100-metre prohibited and 300-
    metre regulated area around all monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of
    India (ASI) has pitted the local community against these heritage structures in many
    places as they find it difficult to carry out necessary repair work of their residential
  • Such a situation in many places creates a hostile scenario, pitching the local community
    against the monuments.
  • The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and
    Culture has asked the government to revise the rules to make them realistic.
  • It also recommended that the list of all 3,691 ASI-protected monuments be rationalised
    and categorised based on their national significance, unique architectural value, and
    specific heritage content.
    Government’s Response
  • The Central government has, however, already said that it was in the process of
    amending the Act.