Despite spending a huge amount of money on excavation, the State Government has failed to bring before the world rare archaeological sites and findings discovered in the State.
Many of these sites, including Taradih near the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, Ramcharittar Van near Buxar, Balirajgarh in Madhubani district, Katragarh near Muzaffarpur, Apsarh in Nawada district, Masarh near Ara and Jhimjhimiyan Kali Sthan near Rajmahal now in Jharkhand, have remained unprotected and uncared. Even the rare antiquities found at these places have been dumped at the State Archaeology storage.
In fact, final reports of these sites have remained unpublished even after 15 years of the excavation. It is because of this these findings cannot be put on display as per the Antiquities Law. Though lakhs of rupees were spent to unravel the history hidden beneath these sites, things have remained obscured.
A State Archaeology official, who does not want to be identified, said that the State Archaeology Directors and archaeologists who conducted excavations at these sites have either retired or were transferred without submitting final reports.
“Even the reports which were submitted failed to get published due to lack of awareness. Some of those officials are no longer alive. Now nobody knows about those unpublished reports and the keys to the sealed boxes containing rare findings, now kept at the State Archaeology office,” he said. The State Archaeology sent notices to many of these officials to submit final reports, but the response was very poor, he added.
Culture Secretary Vivek K Singh said, “We are now trying to hand over the project to the experts who worked with the retired or transferred officials during excavations. This is the only way to improve the situation.”
C P Sinha from the Puravid Parishad said, “Many rare findings may have been damaged in the absence of preservation measures. The stucco panels containing complete story of the Ramayana at the ruins of temple at Apsarh in Nawada district have been completely destroyed. Likewise, other sites too have remained unprotected. There are also chances of the antiquities going missing as there is no final list of the findings.” There has been no permanent Director in State Archaeology for the last many years and there is also shortage of technical hands, he added.
The State Archaeology official said, “Many excavation proposals of the State Archaeology were rejected by the ASI headquarters due to the absence of final reports. Luckily, projects of Tilhara in Nalanda district and a site in Madhubani district have been approved this time.”
Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI, Patna Circle, said the ASI headquarters does not issue licence for excavation if final reports of earlier findings remain unpublished.