The number of monuments under the Centre’s protection could increase as the government is planning a review of those under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the ones protected by the State governments, Union Minister for Culture Prahlad Singh Patel has said.
At present, 3,691 monuments nationwide are protected by the ASI, with the highest number, 745, in Uttar Pradesh, according to his reply in the Lok Sabha on February 10.
Mr. Patel said the list of the Centrally protected monuments had not seen a substantial increase in many years, and important sites under the State governments could be added to the list. On the other hand, he added, there were some monuments that could be removed from the Central list and placed under the State governments.
“The list of Centrally protected monuments can go up to 10,000. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are about 7,000 temples, many of which are hundreds of years old. On the other hand, there are some monuments under the ASI that can be shifted to the State list,” he said.
The Minister said there were some sites that could be moved from the Central list, allowing development works in their vicinity. He was referring to the ban on construction within 100 metres of a Centrally protected monument and regulated construction within 100-200 metres under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. The Act protects monuments and sites that are over 100 years old.
Mr. Patel said he would hold a meeting with the State Ministers for Culture. A source in the Ministry said the meeting could take place by March-end.