Context: Context: According to a recent observation, there were some cracks which were found on the Gateway of India.
About Gateway of India
- Gateway of India is located in Mumbai’s southern coast and does not fall under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India.
- It is a Triumphal Arch structure that showcases the Indo-Islamic architecture of Gujarat and the Indo-Saracenic style.
- Its architect is George Wittet.
- It was erected to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V, the first British monarch to visit India, in December 1911 at Strand Road near Wellington Fountain.
- The Gateway is also the monument from where the last British troops left India in 1948.
- It does not fall under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India. It is not a centrally protected monument. Its preservation and restoration come under the control of the Archaeological Department of the Maharashtra Government.
What is a Centrally protected monument?
- The centrally protected monuments are sites which have been declared so under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (AMASR Act).
- All archaeological sites and remains which have been declared by the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951, or by section 126 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to be of national importance shall also be deemed to be protected areas for the purposes of this Act. AHMAR act is different from the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 as the latter one provides preservation while the previous one recognises a site.
- All functions related to conservation, preservation, and environmental development of centrally protected areas come under the Archaeological Survey of India.· Any construction activity around such monuments is guided and regulated by the National Monument Authority.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
- Preservation of historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance (over 100 years old).
- Protection of sculptures, carvings, and other similar objects.
- Regulation of archaeological excavations.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) functions under this act.
Amendments in 2010:
- It strengthens its penal provisions, to prevent encroachments and illegal construction close to the monuments – which was happening on a large scale.
- Defines Prohibited area: 100 metres around every national monument where no construction, public or private is permitted.
- Defines Regulated area: 200 metres beyond the prohibited area, where any construction requires the permission of a newly constituted National Monuments Authority.
New proposed amendments:
- An Expert committee will decide on the extent of the prohibited and regulated areas around each monument and the activities permitted herein.
- The ASI would be given enforcement powers such as in the Forest Act which would empower it to act against those encroaching at protested sites.
About the Archaeological Survey of India
- The first systematic research into the subcontinent’s history was conducted by the Asiatic Society, which was founded by the British Indologist William Jones in January 1784.
- The most important of the society’s achievements was the decipherment of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1837.
- The Archaeological Survey of India was eventually formed in 1861 by a statute passed into law by Lord Canning with Alexander Cunningham as the first Archaeological Surveyor.
- The Archaeological Survey of India is an attached office of the Ministry of Culture. Under the provisions of the AMASR Act of 1958, the ASI administers more than 3650 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
- These can include everything from temples, mosques, churches, tombs, and cemeteries to palaces, forts, stepwells, and rock-cut caves.
- The Survey also maintains ancient mounds and other similar sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation.
- The ASI is headed by a Director General who is assisted by an Additional Director General, two Joint Directors General, and 17 Directors.
About National Monument Authority
· National Monuments Authority (NMA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India has been set up as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains or AMASR Act, 1958 (amended in 2010).
Functions of NMA:
- Protection and preservation of monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments.
- To consider grant of permissions to applicants for construction-related activity in the prohibited and regulated area.
- To categorize all the protected monuments and protected areas declared as of National importance as per AMASR act 1958.
What is an ancient monument?
In the AMASR Act, ancient monument means 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 provided it has been in existence for not less than one hundred years. Other inclusions are remains or the site of an ancient monument, and means of access to the monument are also termed ancient monuments.
How is a monument declared protected?
Where the Central Government is of opinion that any ancient monument is of national importance it issues a notification (preliminary) in the Official Gazette, of its intention to declare such ancient monument to be of national importance. A notification published under section 4 (3) makes the ancient monument to be of national importance for the purposes of this Act.
What is the difference between a protected area and a protected monument?
When any archaeological site and remains is declared to be of national importance it is called a protected area whereas an ancient monument when declared to be of national importance is called a protected monument. The government may acquire the protected monument under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, of 1894.