Tamil Nadu

No proposal to declare Keeladi a protected monument, says Prahlad Singh Patel

Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State, Culture and Tourism.

Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State, Culture and Tourism.   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

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MoS for Culture and Tourism says steps have been taken to expand the excavation project

There is no proposal to declare Keeladi a protected monument, said Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel, answering a starred question raised in the Lok Sabha.

In a response on Monday, Mr. Patel said though no such proposal was under consideration, a museum would be set up near the site.

Keeladi, a hamlet located 10 km from Madurai, recently grabbed the headlines after the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) found that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district could be dated to a period between 6th century BCE and the 1st century CE. To a follow-up question, he said steps had been taken to expand the excavation and that the State government had already initiated steps. Commenting on the need for the site to be declared as a protected one, Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan said land acquisition for the process of research could be made easier if it was declared a protected monument.

“The government can easily provide sizeable compensation to the public who own land as the people in the area are now willing to aid the State government in research,” he said.

The declaration would also aid in unearthing a larger number of artefacts, a necessity to corroborate the current narrative of Keeladi being one of the oldest civilizations, he added.

When contacted, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan said, “The decision on the a proposal for declaring Keeladi a protected monument will only be made after the sixth phase of excavation is completed.”

“Over the five phases, we have only excavated 110 trenches. With four other sites being included for excavation in the Keeladi cluster, we may have a case for calling it a protected monument,” he said.

“If the site needs to be protected, the State government would have to purchase the land. I can’t comment on the purchase yet as it can only happen after consultation with experts,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 3:03:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/no-proposal-to-declare-keeladi-a-protected-monument-says-prahlad-singh-patel/article30010938.ece

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