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Updated: April 29, 2014 22:47 IST

Unnao digging was a waste of money, claims RTI reply

K. A. Shaji
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The fort of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh in Unnao.
The fort of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh in Unnao.

The much-hyped digging for hidden treasure by the Archaeological Survey of India (AAI) at the fort of Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh in October and November last year was a sheer waste of public money, a Right to Information (RTI) reply received by a Kochi-based activist has revealed.

The massive excavation was undertaken after seer Shoban Sarkar saw in his dreams that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried under the ruins of the 19th century fort. Experts involved in the mission, however, found only some pottery pieces from the Buddhist era.

In response to queries from advocate D.B. Binu of the Cochin Chamber of Lawyers here, AAI’s Lucknow Circle said two separate excavations were conducted in Unnao and nearby Piprahwa at a total cost of Rs. 13,87,135. The largest digging was in Piprahwa at a cost of Rs. 11,08,384. In the case of Unnao, the amount spent was just Rs. 2,78,751.

The excavations unearthed a few pieces of pottery, terracotta beads, two bone points, a few broken glass bangles and some iron nails. The digging was conducted after getting the consent of the director general of AAI. It was undertaken under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, said the reply.

The digging had attracted wide national attention and came under sharp criticism from top scientists and social activists, including the former President, A.P.J Abdul Kalam.

Shobhan Sarkar had claimed that the Raja appeared in his dreams and told him about the treasure trove of 1,000 tonnes of gold worth Rs 31,000 crore that lay buried at the site.

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