Heavy encroachment of cultural monuments in Lucknow
An application was filed with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to know the status of encroachment of cultural monuments in Lucknow.
The reply states that there were a total of 328 known cases of encroachment of heritage buildings. However, in only two cases, the ASI had initiated action. The ASI had examined the issue of encroachment in 2011 and the report stated that out of 56 centrally protected monuments in the city, 29 were encroached. Most of the encroachments were residential in nature.
The superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow circle has accepted the failure on the part of ASI to protect the monuments from encroachment. The Ministry of Culture also accepted the problem of encroachment but said that the problem exists because though the ASI has to protect the monuments, it doesn’t own them and any action against encroachments require the involvement of all the parties i.e. the district administration of the city, the police department, the municipal corporation, the ASI and the owners most of which are private religious trusts.
The monuments in the country, not only in Lucknow, have been encroached with little efforts to remove them and the RTI reply provides a sample of the existing state of affairs.