fort: “will not regularize constructions within 300 meters of Fort Sonar” | News from Jodhpur
The divisional bench of Judge Sandeep Mehta and Judge Sameer Jain, during the previous hearing of a PIL proposed by resident Sunil Paliwal in December, extended the stay of any proceedings relating to the issuance of pattas in protected areas, prohibited and regulated inside and around the fort.
Paliwal, through the petition, sought court intervention on the city council’s decision to issue pattas to 300 people living in and around the fort on the land falling within the protected area, the prohibited area as well as the restricted area of the ancient monument under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Calling the local body’s decision arbitrary and illegal, the petitioner argued that permissions to allocate freehold tenancy rights would lead to new construction and could damage the skyline, art , the architecture, the historical and artistic importance of the fort.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Manas Ranchhor Khatri, told the court that the city council had made a serious error of law in inviting applications for the grant of freehold/patta leasehold rights, as no permission could be granted if the land was within 200 meters of the boundary of a historical monument and places of archaeological significance, archaeological monuments, heritage areas and other restricted access areas.
“Now, since Sonar Fort is both a National Monument and a World Heritage Site, the local body has not only broken the rules, but also seriously compromised the condition of the monument, which is the most endangered of 6 hill forts in total. Rajasthan in the list,” Khatri said. Highlighting governments’ apathy over its heritage status, Khatri said that even after eight years of the monuments being inscribed on the World Heritage List, no management plan for the conservation and protection of the fort has not been submitted by the government despite several reminders by the World Heritage Committee.
“Without this plan, this magnificent but endangered fort risks losing its status as a World Heritage Site,” he said.
Also praying for the immediate development of heritage regulations for the fort, Khatri said the influx of tourists residing inside the monument’s hotels, guesthouses and restaurants has sparked commercial and unauthorized activities at the fort. inside the fort, thus causing damage due to water seepage into the bedrock of the sedimentary formation on which Fort Sonar is built.