Tourists will now no longer be pestered by pesky photographers at heritage sites as the Culture Ministry has notified a policy by which only licensed and qualified lensmen will be allowed at the monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India.
According to the notified policy, photographers with no criminal record and a diploma in photography will be allowed to click tourists at centrally protected monuments.
The notification on the ‘Policy for Archaeological Survey of India Photographers to perform within Centrally Protected Monuments ‘, dated May 25, has laid down a set of rules for photographers, including qualification required to be approved by ASI, a rate list as well as penalties for misbehaviour with tourists. “It was necessary to ensure photographers operating at tourist sites have licences as many tourists have complained of harassment and discomfiture at the hands of a few photographers, who would hound them the moment they stepped into the premises. They would also charge abnormal rates for the pictures,” said an official justifying the need for such a policy.
At present, anybody can indulge in commercial photography at the monuments.
However, under the new policy, licenses will be granted to individual photographers after following the due process of selection. No license shall be granted to any firm, company or any other corporate body.
The applicants should have at least passed 10th standard and possess one year diploma in photography. Also, in the absence of a diploma in photography, the candidates should have the experience of photography at tourists places. He should also have no police record or a criminal case pending against him, the notification said.
The individual should be minimum 18 years of age at the time of submission of application for a fresh license. The license of an ASI-licensed photographer, who has attained 60 years of age, shall thereafter be renewed, subject to medical fitness test, it said.
The ASI will conduct written test, practical and viva for choosing the credible contenders.
The ministry has also stated that each application should be submitted along with Rs 25,000 for getting a licence to click pictures at world heritage sites, and Rs 15,000 for taking pictures at ticketed and non-ticketed monuments. “A licensed photographer will also face stiff penalties if he is found to be guilty of misconduct with tourists – altercation, over-charging, neglecting to provide printed copies of pictures, stealing, involvement in other commercial activities, operating as tourist guides – which could range from a fine of Rs 5,000 to suspension of license and blacklisting,” it said.
The notification has also laid down a rate chart for photographers. Rs 25 per copy has been fixed for a postcard size print, Rs 30 each for 4×6 inches, Rs 40 each for 5×7 inches, Rs 50 each for 6×8 inches and Rs 80 each for 8×12 inches.
Photographers can charge Rs 100 for transferring up to 25 photographs to a CD, DVD or e-mail and Rs 4 per photo (excluding cost of CD, DVD ) thereafter.
The Archaeological Survey of India administers and manages 3,686 ancient monuments and archaeological sites, and remains of national importance.