Pradhan urges Union Tourism Minister to stop illegal excavation work in Sisupalgarh heritage site

Bhubaneswar, Mar 17: Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan has urged the Minister of Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy to direct Odisha government to stop illegal excavation and mining at Sisupalgarh heritage site and Parabhadi Sukhuapada village in Jajpur district .

In a letter Pradhan said the mining work including earth moving works are being carried out by members of ruling party in Odisha the mining works including earth moving works are being done by members of ruling party in Odisha at Sisupalgarh, an ASI protected site.

The work is being carried out with the patronage of local administration and police,Pradhan said and alleged that despite prohibition district administration and police have turned a blind eye to such excavation in and around the historical site.

Sisupalgarh,the Union Minister said, is a site of immense archaeological and historical significance and is identified with Kalinganagar of Kharvela and Toshali of Ashok, two greatest Indian rulers dating back to 6th to 7th century BCE.

He said large scale mining at Sisupalgarh is destroying the priceless heritage. The mining activities are destroying the walls, gates, moats, wells, and tanks that are part of the fortification.

The mining activities, Pradhan alleged, have been going on violating all rules disturbing the natural environment and ecology.

He urged the Union Tourism Minister to direct the Odisha government to act immediately and stop ongoing earth moving activities .

The ASI may be advised to rejuvenate the moat and conserve the exposed excavated structures of the site on priority to check further destruction of the priceless heritage .

Pradhan said the ASI has unearthed a 4.5 metre tall Buddhist stupa at Khandalite mining site at Parabhadi being operated by state owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).

Another smaller stupa belonging to the 7th or 8th century, has been destroyed at the site due to mining .

The ASI, local people ,Buddhist Scholars and local artisans have expressed their concern over the mining at the site.The Union Minister said the Odisha government had allowed mining in the area without conducting any heritage assessment of the site.

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