Jajpur: Over a month ago, the government of Odisha decided to start mining the hill of Parabhadi in the localities of Bandareswar and Kesaraipur under Darpan tehsil in Jajpur for the stones that would be needed for the beautification of the city. by Puri. However, local residents vehemently opposed the government’s decision on Monday. They said that Parabhadi Hill is a historic site and has an ancient Buddhist structure. It is on the verge of extinction due to a lack of conservation and proper maintenance, they said.
Hundreds of villagers from Bandareswar, Kesaraipur, Sukhuapada, Palai, Lalitgiri, Chandia and Teligarh gathered on Monday morning in Languli Mutt to voice their protests against the state government.
Protesters said the destruction of historic Parabhadi Hill for the beautification of the city of Puri was unfair and illogical. A memorandum in this regard will soon be submitted to the government urging it to withdraw its decision. They warned of widespread unrest if their demands were not met.
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âThe historic stupa built in the 3rd century AD is the oldest of the ancient Buddhist stupas located in the diamond triangle of Jajpur district. The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has not spent a single money on its maintenance since its discovery for which it is on the verge of extinction, âsaid Pradipta Kumar Bhuyan, local scholar and head ofâ Buddhayan â.
According to the sources, the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) Limited will carry out the mining activities and arrange for the shipment of the excavated stones to Puri.
It was also decided that a hill plot of about 114 acres in Sukhuapada under Bandareswar mouza and about 47 acres under Kesaraipur mouza will be exploited in the first phase. The WTO has already applied for an environmental permit to carry out mining activities.
When contacted, local tehsildar Pradeep Sethi said: âThe necessary measures are taken after the government decided to carry out mining activities to acquire khandelite stones from Parabhadi hill. However, the location of the Buddhist stupa will not be affected.
It is relevant to mention here that ASI took charge of the stupa in 1994. However, so far, it has neither excavated the site nor worked for its conservation.
In 2005, Parabhadi Hill was partially leased, which was opposed by a local group called ‘Buddhayan’. The company had filed two PILs in the High Court of Orissa on February 23, 2005 and September 29, 2005. In pleadings, it appealed to the court to order the government to cancel the granted lease.
The court ordered accordingly, acting on the former district collector of Jajpur Saswat Mishra with a team which inspected Parabhadi hill and suggested in its report that it should not be exploited under any circumstances. As a result, the lease was terminated.
The Buddhist stupa was discovered at the same time that historians discovered the famous Lalitgiri shrine and began its excavations between 1975 and 1982.
The ASI then claimed the need to excavate and conserve the Buddhist stupa. However, he hasn’t done anything so far. The Parabhadi stupa was a 40-foot-tall structure when the ASI took possession of the site. Due to constant soil erosion and several other reasons, the height of the stupa has dropped to 15 feet.
Famous Buddhist historian and researcher Harish Chandra Prusty said the Parabhadi stupa was discovered when Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang visited Odisha on his tour of India. He visited the site and performed an examination of the old stupa. The stupa finds its mention in the book ‘Si-yu-ki’ written by the Chinese traveler.