Neglected Buddhist heritage site on its way to oblivion
KENDRAPADA: Rare monuments at Langudi hills, one of the famous Buddhist heritage sites, are losing their glory due to neglect by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the State Government.
Situated 35 kilometres from here, Langudi hills came into the limelight in 1994 when a large number of Buddha idols were unearthed by a team of archaeologists from ASI, State Government and South East Asia Research Foundation. It has been established that famous ancient Puspagiri Buddhist centre lies in the Langudi hills.
Perpetual neglect has resulted in the deterioration of rare monuments at the site. Though a few idols and carvings have been sent to museums in Delhi, Calcutta and Bhubaneswar, most of them are still at the site, uncared for. There are even reports of corrosion in the idols due to absence of any conservation measure. Priceless idols are also vulnerable to theft as no watchman has been appointed.
To make the matters worse, private contractors have been allowed to quarry the hill for stones and granites posing grave threat to the monument. Sources in ASI said the district administration was apprised of the risk way back in 1996. A letter from the organisation, in this connection, requested it not to allow quarrying at the site.
However, the local tehsildar has leased out Neulapur hill to some contractors for quarrying.
Apparently, district administration is concerned more with increasing revenue collection than conservation of this ancient monument.