Constructions banned around Agra monuments
With small monuments in the city of the Taj almost dwarfed by encroachments, all new constructions have been banned around them within a radius of 300 metres.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) order follows a gazette notification of Jan 23 and fears that rapid urbanization is threatening to wipe out valuable chunks of history, officials here said.
Under the modified rules, the power of the local ASI office to issue no objection certificates (NOCs) has been withdrawn.
"We do not know what is to be done with encroachments and structures already in existence. But in future no constructions would be permitted within the regulated zones," Superintending archaeologist AR Siddiqui told IANS.
In recent years, many of the lesser known monuments in Agra have either disappeared or have been dwarfed by illegal structures.
"Most smaller protected monuments in Agra - there are scores of them - have been virtually overwhelmed by new structures which threaten their existence. These include Delhi Gate, Etmauddaula, Sikandra, Ram Bagh and dozens of others," Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society president Surendra Sharma told IANS.