Excavation of megalithic burial sites: AP Archaeological department awaiting nod

HYDERABAD: The archaeological department in Andhra Pradesh is awaiting a nod from Delhi for the excavation of megalithic burial sites at the Polavaram project area and two Buddhist sites at Jagathipadu in Srikakulam district and Gudavada in Vizianagaram district. Permission from the Archaeological Society of India is a pre-requisite to start the excavations.

The state archaeological authorities normally take up excavation works from February to June, during the summer every year. However, the outbreak of Coronavirus has had an adverse impact in recent years. With no major threat of Coronavirus this year, the state authorities have sent proposals for excavations at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh at the Polavaram project site.

They have also proposed excavations at a cost of Rs 10 lakh each at two Buddhist sites with a total budget of Rs 50 lakh from AP.

Once the ASI approval comes for the three works, the state government will release the necessary funds.

In the earlier excavations of megalithic burials at Rudramakota and Rayanipeta of the Polavaram project-affected areas, the authorities found antiquities including tools, ornaments, beads, etc depicting ancient cultures and traditions. Some of them were secured in archaeological museums in Rajamahendravaram and Eluru.

As the resettlement and rehabilitation works of the Polavaram project-affected people are still in progress, the authorities are unable to collect nearly 370 idols found in agency mandals. There is stiff resistance from the local villagers. Relocation of two ancient temples – the Koundinya Muktheswara Swamy shrine at Kukkunuru and Veereswara Swamy temple at VR Puram -- are also pending for the same reason.

Meanwhile, the AP High Court issued a stay order on the relocation of the two temples and also for securing the idols as local villagers moved court complaining about a resultant delay in the implementation of the R and R package.

The state survey authorities are making efforts to get the stay order vacated and go ahead with the relocation of the temples apart from securing the idols.

Moreover, there is less progress on the proposed setting up of the Polavaram Dam Site Museum as works of the project are still in progress.

On the other hand, the authorities are hopeful they would be able to have major findings of artefacts at the two Buddhist sites once the excavation works begin.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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