Two more Buddhist caves discovered in Jajpur
by AKSHAY ROUT, DAILY PIONEER,12 DECEMBER 2012
Jaipur, India -- Two Buddhist caves were recently discovered by villagers of Sukhuapada in Jajpur district. Eminent historian Harish Chandra Prusti said, “The caves found at Sukhuapada have similarities with the caves discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) three decades back in the hillocks at Neulipur, Kaima, Deuli, Gokarneswar, Brajagiri, Biddhalinga, Lalitagiri and Udayagiri.”
According to Prusti, “Buddhist monks used to stay in these caves in the rainy season. A 50-feet-long tunnel in the hillock is a rare discovery in the State as in the past archaeologists had never stumbled across any tunnel at any Buddhist places.
However, large-scale of illegal quarrying by violating court order at several Buddhist sites at the Lalitagiri, Udayagiri, Sukhuapada and Landa hillocks in the district have been posing serious a danger to the ancient Buddhist places. The authorities are not taking steps to stop the rampant illegal quarrying, alleged vice-president of Buddhayan, a Buddhist cultural centre of Lalitagiri, Pradeep Bhuyan.
Contractors in clear nexus with Government officials have been lifting stones and morum from the hillocks. The 80-km-long road widening works on NH-5(A) from Chandikhol to Paradip have been going on since last five years for which the contractors are supplying morum to the Hindustan Construction Company.
The High court had banned lifting of stones by contractors from the hillocks to protect the Buddhist sculptures three years back after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Buddhayan. But the contractors nonchalantly continue to extract stones from the bottom of the hills under the very nose of the authorities. Each day, about 50 to 70 trucks carry stones and morum from the hills, alleged Bhuyan.