Bhopal: One month on, ASI yet to come up with probe report on unauthorised digging on Khajuraho temple premises

A 30-foot-long stretch of land was dug up to a depth of three feet using JCB machines between Kandariya Mahadev and Vishwanath temples on April 24.

SmitaUpdated: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 11:11 PM IST
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A 30-foot-long stretch of land was dug up to a depth of three feet using JCB machines between Kandariya Mahadev and Vishwanath temples on April 24. | FP (File Pic)

Bhopal(Madhya Pradesh): A month after the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) ordered a probe into unauthorised digging in the Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho, the report of the enquiry is yet to come in.

“A probe has been ordered. As and when the report is submitted, strict action will be taken as per rules,” Regional Director, Central Zone, ASI , Praveen Kumar Mishra told Free Press. When asked about the delay, the officer said that they are short on staff and their first priority is routine work.

A 30-foot-long stretch of land was dug up to a depth of three feet using JCB machines between Kandariya Mahadev and Vishwanath temples on April 24. The gate through which the JCB machine was taken inside the temple premises is meant for entry of VIPs.

Due to the digging, the light and sound show held by the MP Tourism Development Corporation had to be cancelled on April 25. Water supply to the temple complex was also hit.

The ASI maintains the temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Khajuraho comes under the Jabalpur circle of the ASI. Superintending Archaeologist Shivakant Bajpayee of the ASI’s Jabalpur Circle had ordered an inquiry into the incident in May.

A total of 45 guards hired from a private agency by the ASI are deployed in the Khajuraho Temple Complex. Of them, 20 manage the security at the Western Group, which includes around 15 temples.

According to sources, on the night of April 23-24, the personnel guarding the temples around the place where the digging took place, were sent on leave. Other sources said that the probe has been completed but the report is not being made public as senior officials want to shield the guilty. Thousands of statues are lying buried in soil in the area and the digging might have something to do with the smuggling of idols, the sources said. Phone calls and messages to DG, ASI V Vidyavathi remained unanswered.

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