A section of the residents of Zamin Pallavaram, a southern suburb of Chennai, are alarmed following the circulation of a government communication about regulation of land around heritage sites and monuments.

Copies of a subject tabled and passed at a meeting of Pallavaram Municipal Council on August 31 were circulated among residents of a few localities of Zamin Pallavaram (Wards 11, 12 and 13) recently. The subject (No. 12) in the agenda of the council meeting informed the councillors about a communication from Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority in June this year about certain provisions of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010.

Some of the provisions relate to regulation of land around such heritage sites and Zamin Pallavaram holds an important place in history as it is a megalithic site. The agenda states that areas coming under a series of Survey Numbers in these wards have been classified as sites where “megalithic cairns and cists showing clear structural postres” are found.

Under such circumstances, areas that come within 100 metres from the site boundaries were classified as “permit restricted” while those within 101 and 300 metres from the site boundaries were classified as “regulated” that required residents to obtain No Objection Certificates for building construction.

The CMDA's letter had stated that “no construction activity including new construction, repairs and renovation to existing buildings is permissible.” Enquiries with CMDA planners and engineers of the Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply revealed that similar letters, based on a communication from ASI, were sent to nearly a dozen rural and urban local bodies in Tambaram Taluk of Kancheepuram district.