Hearing a batch of writ petitions relating to excavations being done in the State, a division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalenthi noted that of the 26 excavations taken up in Tamil Nadu by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), only the report relating to Gudiyam cave was ready while that of Adichanallur was nearing completion. It then directed the government counsel to get instructions on whether the report with regard to 24 ancient sites were ready and when it would be released.
Recalling the queries it had raised, including the budgetary allocation to the states to undertake excavation, the bench pointed out that those details were not provided so far by the Archaeology Department even though the order was passed on February 18, 2019 – a year and a half ago.
Directing the department to file the details as sought, the bench also recalled its order regarding Udaiyalur, where the King Raja Raja Chola cemetery is located, to form a committee and use GPRS with radar instrument for underground scan of 2.5 acre land in and around the lingam, which is said to be the burial site of the late king.
“It is not known as to whether the Archaeology Department has complied with the order passed by this court. In this regard, the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department has to file a report,” the bench directed, and posted the plea for further hearing to October 28.
During the hearing, Sivanandam, Deputy Director, Archaeology Department, submitted that so far excavation has been done at Keezhadi, Adichanallur, Sivakalai, Kodumanal and Alagankulam. The reports on the efforts were being readied and permission was awaited from the central Archaeological Department to hold further excavations at Keezhadi, Adichanallur, Sivakalai, Kodumanal, Myladumparai, Korkai and Gangaikonda Cholapuram.