Gold hunt: culture ministry defends decision on excavation

  • Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Oct 19, 2013 23:41 IST

Differences surfaced within the government on the excavation of gold in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh with agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday opposing the involvement of government agencies in the project, and culture ministry saying it was started only after ascertaining the relevant facts.

“We are against such activities and people who seek to propagate such messages. The government agencies should not participate in such work,” Pawar said in an apparent reference to the ASI’s role in the ongoing digging work in a fort at a village in Unnao district.

In a bid to end the growing controversy on how the ASI and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) got involved in the digging work, which appear to have been triggered after a seer Shoban Sarkar claimed that he had been told in a dream about 1,000 tonnes of gold lying buried in the ruins of the fort, the culture ministry said it had nothing to do with a dream.

The culture ministry stated that the mines ministry received the report of the preliminary GSI investigations on October 8, which mentioned “prominent non-magnetic anomalous zone,” which indicated possible non-conducting metallic contents or alloys at 5-20 meters below the surface and suggested excavation.

“On the basis of the report it was decided by ASI to undertake excavations to try to determine the nature of the reported deposits,” the ministry statement said.

The ministry has pointed out that scientific preparatory arrangements were carried out before the excavation work began on Friday and local administration was informed that it might require two-three weeks to reach the “reported level of metal deposits.”


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