The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has told the owners of 735 residential and commercial buildings in Bhagwat Nagar that they will be evicted if they do not vacate the premises by September 10.
Spread over 22 acres of land, the buildings are located near the famous Mauryan site of Kumharar. The PMC notice served on the owners comes in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent directive to the state government to get the site vacated.
According to a PMC official, the owners of the buildings have been asked to vacate the land by September 10, failing which the government would demolish the concrete structures.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has been waiting for the removal of the encroachments for a long time, now, plans to undertake further excavations on the land. The site boasts of the remains of the once-magnificent 80-pillared hall and the arogyashala of Dhanvantari.
Superintending archaeologist of ASI PK Mishra said the encroachments are a big hurdle in carrying out excavation work on the protected site. "Concrete residential and commercial buildings have been constructed within 7-10 metres of the site, though construction within a 100-metre radius of the site is restricted. This prevents landscaping of the site. The area also remains waterlogged through the year due to seepage. Excavation may help unearth other important features of the Ashokan empire," he explained.
In August, 2004, the state government had released 12.5 acres to the Ashish Construction Cooperative Society. The next year, the Adarsh Bhagwat Jaiprakash Progressive Front had secretary filed a contempt case against the state government in Supreme Court, which ordered the demolition of the buildings and houses.