The State government has planned to bring in two laws on the heritage protection front, one proposing the establishment of a Heritage Commission and the other envisaging the creation of an exclusive authority for Mamallapuram, a world heritage site.

N. R. Sivapathi, School Education Minister, who is also in charge of archaeology and Tamil culture, informed the House that the proposed Tamil Nadu Heritage Commission Act would be aimed at protecting and preserving the rich heritage and cultural properties of the State.

The other legislation – Mamallapuram World Heritage Area Management Authority Act – would be for conserving the cultural heritage of Mamallapuram.

The group of monuments at Mamallapuram, declared a world heritage site in 1984, is broadly dated to the 7 Century and 8 Century AD.

The likely features of the proposed Heritage Commission Act are that the body will advise the State government on preparing a classification in certain grades of heritage buildings and on any alteration, modification or relaxation of any law for development, control and conservation of any heritage building. It may advise the local authorities, where necessary, on the policy of the grant of any certificate of right of development of a heritage building.

The legislation on Mamallapuram may provide powers to the proposed Authority to carry out a survey of the heritage area and prepare reports on such surveys, prepare development of the heritage area and formulate schemes for implementing the development plan.

The Minister informed the House that 43,174 antiquities were, till now, registered and certificates issued under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, and 2,653 objects were identified as non-antiquities. Of Rs. 8.5 crore sanctioned by the Union government towards modernisation of galleries on the Chennai Museum campus, the Minister said, works to the extent of Rs. 3.93 crore had been completed.

The government would renovate the Karur and Vellore district museums at a cost of Rs. 10 lakh. It would construct a building at a cost of Rs. 35 lakh to accommodate a marine archaeological museum in Poompuhar, Nagapattinam district.

Mr. Sivapathi announced that the monthly stipend for students of government music colleges would be increased from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 from 2012-2013. In 17 district government music schools, the monthly stipend would go up from Rs. 200 to Rs. 400.