Chance discovery of a 25-feet deep ditch leading to three 'tunnel routes' in VSSD Degree College, Nawabganj has given rise to controversy and speculation. While archaeologists say the tunnel may be of historical relevance, college authorities are brushing it aside as a dried-up well and have got it covered for the safety of students.
The discovery was made on Sunday when students playing outside the Lala Hardutt Rai Hostel on the campus spotted that certain area of the land had caved in. Moving closer, they discovered a deep ditch. “A student called Veer Babu entered the ditch with the help of a rope and saw three tunnel paths. The student then informed the college authorities about it,” said a source. The college authorities, however, did not show any interest in the matter and got the ditch closed with mud.
Secretary of archaeological society Puratatva Mitra and former archaeologist Purnendu Sahai said, “On getting news of incident, I visited the site around 7am on Monday but found the ditch was closed by the college management. Consequently, I could not conduct any study.”
Sahai said the site where the ditch was created falls within a furlong radius of palace of King Kanhadeo built in 1117 AD. The palace had five storeys two of which were badly damaged, he added. Records in history too revealed that there were three passages through tunnels to reach the palace. One of the tunnels opened at Deepchand park area in Nawabganj, the other opened at the Jageshwar bank of river Ganga while the third passed through a well.
“The third passage could be near the site where the VSSD College was constructed. The ditch should have been examined but it could not be possible as the college management had closed it,” said Sahai.
Officer at the archaeological department Ram Vinay said, “Directorate of the archaeological department would investigate the tunnel if the college writes to it.” However, sources say, the college is avoiding the matter since the historical value of the land may result in archaeological bodies acquiring the area. Sources also said some archaeologists in the city are planning to write to the ASI about it.