Authorities at Chandrapur have said they would take up with the State Archaeology Department the issue of reported demolition of four ancient Buddhist caves during mining activities.

Amid reports that the four caves, located around 3 kms from here, were destroyed during the routine mining activity of the Mana Opencast Mines of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) on Wednesday, District Collector Vijay Waghmare said WCL “had not obtained any permission for the demolition of caves”.

“We would take up the issue with the State Archaeology Department,” Mr. Waghmare said.

Former District Collector Pradeep Kalbhor had issued letters to WCL in 2009 asking it to stop mining activities around the Mana Tekri area with immediate effect, said Ashok Singh Thakur, a historian and Convener of local Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, who has taken up the issue of saving the caves.

However, WCL still continued with the mining activities using explosives, destroying the ancient caves, he alleged.

Assistant Director, State Archaeology, Anand Bhoyar said that even though the caves were not listed as protected monuments, no one including WCL, had the authority to “destroy these historically important monuments.”

Meanwhile, WCL officials in Chandrapur area were not immediately available for comment.