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The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) Patna Circle has taken umbrage at government engineers who allegedly carried out unauthorized de-silting works in the off-limits part of Nalanda University, a World Heritage Site, causing damage to a Pala period brick wall that was buried there.
Goutami Bhattacharya, the chief archaeologist of the ASI-Patna circle told PTI, said the siltation works were carried out without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the agency.
“Despite repeated requests by ASI field officials and bringing the matter to the attention of the District Magistrate, the desilting works of Dehar pokhar – behind the site of Temple 14 of the old Nalanda University – were carried out by a junior engineer from the Department of Minor Water Resources, Government of Bihar.”As a result, ancient bricks from the ‘Pala’ period (8th to 12th century) were exhibited at the site”, a- she declared.
The structures on display “show evidence of vandalism” by heavy machinery, Bhattacharya said.
“Such blatant disregard for established procedures and the deliberate destruction of a heritage structure near a World Heritage Site is unforgivable. Strict action must be taken against the official concerned for breach of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR-Amendment and Validation) Act 2010,” she explained.
Bhattacharya also said that she had written to Parmar Ravi Manubhai, the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the Department of Minor Water Resources, raising the matter and seeking against the concerned engineer. Manubhai, when approached, said he had already demanded explanations from officials.
“The matter will be thoroughly investigated. If the relevant officials are found guilty, appropriate departmental action will be taken against them,” he added.