Illegal Construction Near Brick Minars Must Be Questioned
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Ahmedabad’s ‘Brick Minars’ are monuments of national importance according to the Archaeological Survey of India. In 2018, a PIL was filed against the DRM Ahmedabad and ASI for illegally destroying these historic and heritage pillars just outside Kalupur Railway Station. The construction was started by the Railways in February 2018.
The story goes like this. From February through April last year, the Archaeological Survey of India issued three show cause notices to the Divisional Railway Manager of Western Railway. The notices stated that the construction was within 100 metres of a national monument, which is the prohibited limit, and thus needed to be stopped as it was illegal.
I have made several written representations to all parties involved regarding the same but in vain. I then approached the Ahmedabad High Court, where the matter is due to be discussed.
UNESCO gave Ahmedabad the label of a 'Heritage City' on the terms that illegal construction within 100 meters will be controlled and investigated.
Both the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Archaeological Survey of India have failed in this matter. Government departments here have also failed.
This is disappointing but not surprising. While the ‘Walled City’ in Old Ahmedabad gained the UNESCO World Heritage City title in 2017, there is a persistent problem of illegal construction and encroachments near archaeological sites within the city.
Hawkers are also a problem. For example, at sites such as Ahmed Shah’s Tomb (Tomb of the founder of Ahmedabad), push carts owned by food vendors are parked right next to the monument, and the vendors set up shop every night at Manek Chowk, completely blocking the view of the site. Jama Masjid is invisible too, as many buildings have been constructed right next to its boundary wall.
With such noted historical monuments suffering from continued unplanned urban development, it is imperative that each and every citizen of Ahmedabad do their part in protecting the city’s rich heritage.
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