he pre-historic rock art site at the Edakkal Cave on the Ambukuthy Hills in Wayanad district is facing neglect and ruin.
Unrestricted entry of tourists and granite quarrying activities near the monument are the major threats to the neolithic monument.
A national workshop held at Sulthan Bathery on ‘Conservation of Edakkal Petroglyphs’ in 2013, as part of securing the UNESCO World Heritage status for the monument, had discussed potential threats to the rock carvings and scientific measures to conserve the monument.
It had identified seepage of rainwater from the Ambukuthy Hills as a threat to the wall engravings and had recommended the formation of a core committee to suggest measures to divert surface run of water. It said necessary measures should be taken to prevent wedging due to the growth of vegetation along the cracks, another threat to the engravings. Since huge blocks of rocks near the cave faced the threat of collapse due to the impact of blasts at the nearby granite quarries, experts had recommended that it be bolted properly instead of removing it
Vibrations from the granite quarries should be studied and necessary action should be taken to conserve the monument.
However, even after two years of the recommendations, the authorities are yet to take any action to address these issues, said Thomas Ambalavayal, Secretary, Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samithi.
Unrestricted entry of visitors without assessing the carrying capacity of the fragile rock site has raised concern, he said.
The State Archaeology Department had appointed an officer to monitor the day-to-day activities at the monument in 2009, but the post has remained vacant after he was transferred, he added. The heritage monument is under the possession of the State Archaeology Department and the tourism activities are managed by the Edakkal Tourism Destination Management Council under the District Tourism Promotion Council.
The monument is in the possession of the Archaeology Department and managed by the Edakkal Tourism Destination Management Council