Three days of relentless digging at the foothills of Naubath Pahad on the campus of Vidyaranya School for a treasure trove yielded nothing to the State Archaeology officials. By Monday evening, excavations were suspended till a research team of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) conducts a thorough study and submits a report of its findings.

On Monday, Archaeology officials approached NMDC with a request to help them discover location of a ‘tunnel' and the exact spot from where they could start digging. The NMDC officials said that they would conduct preliminary ‘magnetic resonance' survey of the area to find whether a tunnel exists.

“They came to us with a request to locate a tunnel. There is a hillock and there are lot of buildings in the vicinity. We will send our teams to do the preliminary study. We can't give the exact timeframe because these surveys are unpredictable,” said NMDC, General Manager (Resource Planning), Paneer Selvam.

It was a day of an anti-climax for officials, as they could not find out the entry point to the bunker or storage room that reportedly leads to a treasure trove. A few construction workers and a Coal India official Sitaram Raju had submitted a sworn affidavit to the Department of Archaeology claiming that a storage room having treasure was in the storage facility.

Minister's visit

On Monday morning, Minister for Tourism, Archaeology and Museums, Vatti Vasanth Kumar visited the excavation site. The Minister directed officials to take help of NMDC to zero-in on the exact location of the storage facility.

Management of Vidyaranya School met the Minister and protested over the alleged high-handed behaviour of archaeology officials.

“Nobody bothered to alert us in advance or take us into confidence. They simply walked into the school campus and started digging. We have to take legal recourse from this kind of harassment. Crucial school time of our students will be lost due to this activity,” committee members of Vidyaranya school said.

Meanwhile, archaeology officials took the team of construction workers including Mr. Sitaram Raju to the recently discovered bunker at ANGRAU home sciences. “Gates of the bunker at ANGRAU Home Science College and gates that we saw at Vidyaranya School campus are remarkably similar. I saw the storage facility at Vidyaranya campus when I visited the school premises as a parent of somebody three years ago,” Mr. Raju maintained.

Now these ‘witnesses' cannot identify the opening of the bunker or the storage room because of the construction activity that took place in the last three years. This has forced the authorities to take up digging inside the Vidyaranya campus.

Authorities asserted that they have the right to take up such excavations under the Indian Treasure Trove Act and AP Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules of 1960. Officials said that future decision on excavation at Vidyaranya campus depends on NMDC survey report.

Three days of relentless digging at school in Hyderabad comes to naught