"No interference of the High Court is called for at this juncture as the government is taking measures to conserve the monuments", said a Bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah, which disposed of the PIL. (Agencies)
The PIL, filed by Shramik Gojamgunde, president of Pune-based Sahyadri Pratisthan, contended more than 2,000 monuments, including 400 forts, in Maharashtra were facing threat of extinction because of the hostile weather conditions and ‘neglect’ by the state government and the Centre in preserving them.
Some monuments are in ruins while a few others have remained only on paper. Many forts and historic places were in dilapidated condition. The PIL alleged that funds earmarked for preserving such landmarks were grossly inadequate.
According to the state government, it protects 260 monuments, including 46 forts, 14 caves, 102 places of worship and 98 sites of historical interest, including birth places of famous personalities, ancient doorways and gardens.
The PIL alleged that the forts were being transformed into dens of anti-social activities by local goons. Besides, funds were diverted to non-preservation activities such as tree plantation, construction of roads and building resorts.
The PIL prayed for a direction to the government to come out with a comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for every fort in the state on the lines of the one prepared for the Red Fort in Delhi as per directives of the Supreme Court.
The state government filed an affidavit denying the allegations that the forts and monuments are not being maintained or conserved, although it admitted that such structures got damaged due to adverse weather conditions and rain.
The state said that it had sanctioned Rs 46.49 crore for conservation of forts. It also denied allegations of encroachments and said that human inhabitation in such places have been in existence even before they were declared protected monuments.
"No interference of the High Court is called for at this juncture as the government is taking measures to conserve the monuments", said a Bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah, which disposed of the PIL.