The Archaeological Survey of India has banned the use of selfie sticks at 46 museums across the country and brought in restrictions on the use of monopods, tripods and flash lights on the premises. The new policy decision was made to ensure that the artefacts on display are not damaged, PTI reported on Wednesday.

The restrictions have been imposed at site museums which are close to ancient places where objects retrieved during excavation are displayed. These include museums in Konark and Hampi, the Mumtaz Mahal, Swatantrata Sangram Sanghralaya, Purana Killa and Indian War Memorial Museum in Delhi and Agra’s Taj Museum, among others.

“Times are changing, and at every site, there are people with mobile phones taking pictures freely,” ASI Director Dr K Lourdusamy told PTI. “There are people even shooting inside the monuments, so the ASI decided to put in place some restrictions.”

Photographs and videos to be charged

The organisation has also decided to charge Rs 750 each for photos of artefacts at its museums used for commercial purposes. Photographers have to inform the ASI every time the image is published or displayed.

To film at such sites, the ASI has imposed a non-refundable fee of Rs 50,000 per day per museum. This includes a refundable security deposit Rs 10,000. To shoot at the sites with a camera crew, those interested have to seek permission from authorities 15 days ahead of schedule.

“There are so many instances where videos of our museums have been used in popular culture,” Lourdusamy said. “So the Ministry [of Culture] was of the view that such usage for commercial purposes should be levied a fee.”

However, photography and videography will continue to remain free of cost for visitors.