321 protected monuments, sites encroached upon, Rajya Sabha told

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  1. According to the government, more than 300 Centrally-protected monuments and sites, including World Heritage Sites, across India are under encroachment.
  2. Among the monuments that have encroachments are Purana Qila in Delhi, Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, Sun Temple in Konark in Odisha and Brahma Temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
  3. However, the government has assured that proactive steps have been taken by the Archaeological Survey of India under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMSAR) Act, 1958 and Rules, 1959 to curb encroachment.
  4. The AMSAR Act provides for the preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance. It also provides for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for the protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects.
  5. The AMSAR Act, 1958 was amended in 2010. The AMASR (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 prescribes the limits of regulated and prohibited area.
  6. It states that no building activity is allowed in the ‘prohibited zone’ which is within 100 meters from the notified limits of the monument.
  7. 200 meters further from the borders of the 100 meter prohibited zone is the ‘regulated area’. Here some building, repair and restoration activity is allowed with permission from the Competent Authority.