Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill goes to Select Committee

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New Delhi, July 26: The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill was on Thursday referred to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha headed by BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe following the opposition’s demand that the Bill was a crucial one and needed closer scrutiny. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel announced in the House that the Bill was being sent to the Select Committee that has members from all major parties in the House and the committee is scheduled to submit its report by August 8. The tenure, however, may be extended if needed, he added.

The Bill was introduced in the upper House on July by Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma but it could not be taken up for discussion as the opposition members including Congress protested and demanded it to be sent to a Select Committee. The demand was supported by Samajwadi Party, the Left parties, the DMK, the RJD and others. The Bill, that amends the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, was passed by the Lok Sabha in January this year. Since then it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. The Act defines a ‘prohibited area’ as an area of 100 meters around a protected monument or area, but the bill makes provision for the Central government extending the prohibited area beyond 100 metres.

The opposition wants the Select Committee to work thoroughly on the Bill and give its report in the next session when it should be taken up for discussion. However, the government is keen to get the Bill passed in the monsoon session itself. On Wednesday, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad has said the Bill must not be passed “in a hush”. (IANS)