Forest department says digging of land would destroy ecosystem

The Superintendent (Archaeology), V S Rawat, says they have been waiting for the acquisition of land for the last one year.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep | Chandigarh | Updated: November 14, 2017 3:08 pm
forest, chandigarh, ASI, survey, ecosystem, excavation, ASI, indian express, express online Condition of approach road to Masol village where fossils were found. Express

THE EXCAVATION of centuries-old fossils in Masol village may be delayed further because after facing several glitches at the administrative level, the forest department has now said that it cannot allow any digging as the land comes under the forest area and it would destroy the ecosystem. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), on the other hand, said they were not getting any “satisfactory” response from the district administration and their project got delayed by a year.

The Superintendent (Archaeology), V S Rawat, said they have been waiting for the acquisition of land for the last one year as they had sent reminders to the district administration but they did not get any reply and their project got delayed by a year. “We have sent the last reminder about a month ago, but we are still waiting for the reply. The Prime Minister’s Office had already asked us to acquire the land. Our officers have also met the district administration,” Rawat told Chandigarh Newsline.

When asked about the delay in allotment of land, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Gurpreet Kaur Sapra said officers of the forest department told her that part of the land, which was to be excavated, fell under the forest department.
“The forest department told me that they cannot allow digging of their land in the area as it is an eco-sensitive zone. They are also right in their point,” she said. Sapra further said that she would hold a meeting with all the concerned departments within 15 days as well as with the ASI officials to find a solution.

Speaking further, the DC said they also wanted to solve the problem as soon as possible because some people were selling fossils, which were actually stones, which is a serious problem. “As there is no carbon dating of these fossils, some men are duping the people. I came to know that some people even bought these stones. Once the issue is sorted out, the ASI will be responsible for maintenance of the fossils and the site.”

Earlier, the land allotment was delayed as the revenue record had shown that there were 4 lakh owners of the land where excavation was to be done. The issue was highlighted by Chandigarh Newsline following which an inquiry was conducted by the Kharar SDM and it was found that the number of owners was wrongly written due to a clerical mistake.

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