Preparations for the Hampi Utsav have damaged the heritage structure. An earthmover was ued to dig a trench near the Queen’s Bath to prevent the rainwater from entering the soak pit of toilet.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Bangalore circle, urged Deputy Commissioner of Bellary Amlan Aditya Biswas, who is also the Chairman of the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority (HWHAMA), to immediately intervene and stop digging in the protected area of Hampi World Heritage Site.

Nambirajan, Superintending Archaeologist, Bangalore circle, in an email to Mr. Biswas said, “It has been brought to my notice today i.e. 02.01.2014 that some digging is being carried out by HWHAMA in connection with Hampi Utsav in the protected area of Queen’s Bath at Hampi. It is also reported that some potsherds, stone slabs, etc. have been found. This is an illegal act which attracts penal actions under Sec.19 of AMASR Act, 1958, and Sec. 7 & 8 of the AMASR Rules 1959 for unlawful entry in to the protected area, digging, causing damage to remains of ancient structure etc. You are requested to intervene in the matter immediately and stop the digging.”

Recently, an earthmover was pressed into service to dig a trench near the Queen’s Bath to prevent the rainwater from entering the soak pit of toilet. This was strongly objected by ASI officials apprehending destruction of evidences of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire, buried underneath. Before that, a stone mantap in Krishna Bazaar was damaged after being hit by a truck carrying tent materials.

Mr. Nambirajan, while talking to The Hindu , made it clear that the ASI was willing to coordinate with the HWHAMA on such issues provided prior intimation was given. “Our main concern is that the evidences should not get destroyed on the one hand and no damage is caused to the ancient monuments on the other,” he said.

He said, Hampi World Heritage Site is a special property and has been declared as a protected area. Except the ASI, which is the nodal agency, no other agency could take up any kind of activities, including digging, in the protected area. In case of any repairs to be undertaken, it had to be done by the ASI and for that, prior permission of the Regional Director of National Monument Authority had to be sought in writing.

Solar lights

Mr. Nambirajan said that the HWHAMA was also going ahead with installing solar lights near Vijaya Vittala temple complex for which permission was not sought. In addition, decorative lights were also being installed, as part of the Utsav, near protected monuments.