JAISALMER: The district administration has imposed a ban on construction activities within 100-metre radius of the historic Sonar Fort in Jaisalmer. The administration, in its order dated February 29 this year, had asked its officials not to issue water and power connections to such constructions.
"The administration has constituted a four-member committee to not only keep a watch on the fort but also identify unauthorized constructions that have come up in and around the protected monument, said district collector, Jaisalmer, MP Swami, talking to TOI on Wednesday.
Swami said that as per the order of the Rajasthan High Court in a civil petition on April 10, 2004 and as per the provisions of Ancient Monument, Archaeological Place Remaining, Amended and Validation Act 2010, a four member committee headed by the additional district magistrate has been formed to remove the illegal constructions within 100 metres of Sonar Fort.
The other members of the committee are the superintendent of police, municipal commissioner and the Archaeological Survey of India in-charge.
Committee chairman and additional district magistrate Parshuram Dhanka said that water works and electricity departments have been directed not to give water and electricity to any illegally constructed buildings within 100 metres of the fort. Besides, buildings being constructed within 100-200 metres of the fort should be given connection only after getting 'no objection certificate' from the municipality. He has directed the municipality to immediately remove the constructions going on within 100-200 metres without permission.
Although the district administration has stepped up measures, the state government has still not formed the Sonar Fort Development Authority that the state officials had assured during a meeting with the officials of Union government on January 21. The officials of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and state government, in the presence of Union art and culture minister Kumari Shelja had taken this decision on January 21.
Other than Shelja, ASI director general Gautam Sengupta, chief secretary and many other senior officers along with representatives from other agencies participated in this meeting. "Due to delay in formation of the authority, maintenance and conservation work of the fort is slow and it is difficult to check illegal constructions," said an official.
Recently, TOI had carried a story about crumbling parts of the fort. Taking cognizance of the report, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked officials to take conservation measures. However, several parts of the fort are dwindling as the ongoing conservation efforts are inadequate. The protected monument has suffered due to hundreds of illegal constructions and unauthorized residents living in the fort premises.