NOC to rail work near Rani Ki Vav World Heritage site only after alignment change: National Monuments Authority

Rani ki Vav falls under the most preserved UNESCO's World Heritage Site status and is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
Rani ki Vav falls under the most preserved UNESCO’s World Heritage Site status and is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Patan (PTN): The National Monuments Authority (NMA) has decided to recommend grant of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for repair and renovation of an abandoned Meter Gauge Railway line near Rani Ki Vav, Patan (Gujarat) only after a proposal for an alternate alignment was submitted by Railways as permissible under rules and guidelines for heritage monuments.

This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to a starred question in Rajya Sabha today.

Rani Ki Vav was added to the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO in June last year, the Minister disclosed.

The Minister said that after the perusal of the original application submitted by Western Railways, it was observed by the NMA that this project involves construction work of railway track and it will adversely affect the protected site, hence, being in a prohibited area, as the distance of the proposed site of construction related activity from the main monument was 67 meters and from the protected boundary wall of the monument was 13 meters.

Accordingly, NMA decided that the proposed construction was not permissible and the Railways may explore the realignment more seriously.

Dr Mahesh Sharma further explained that several meetings were held between officials of Railways, National Monuments Authority and Archaeological Survey of India to sort-out the issue and Railways submitted a proposal for renovation of abandoned MG Railway line near Rani-ki-Vav onan alternate alignment.

This was considered in the 121st Meeting held on 10.04.2015 and during the meeting it was decided to recommend grant of NOC for renovation of abandoned MG railway line on alternate alignment subject to ASI clearance with reference to the dossier submitted to UNESCO.

The distance from the protected limit of the protected area of the monument has now been shown as 102.54 meters (beyond prohibited area), the Minister added. Dr Mahesh Sharma also explained that officials of both NMA and ASI have arrived at any conclusion only after making on-site inspections.