VIJAYAWADA: Now that the state has been divided, the officials of the Archaeology Department as well as culture and heritage enthusiasts seek measures to reclaim the antiques, artefacts and other precious articles belonging to the coastal districts from the Andhra Pradesh State Museum in Hyderabad.
They fear that the delay in this exercise may lead to unwarranted disputes between AP and TS governments. They are also afraid of the possibility of ‘missing’ of these valuables for various reasons.
According to official sources, over 50 rare Buddhist artefacts are housed at the ‘Holy Buddhist Relic Gallery’ at the AP State Museum (YSR State Museum) besides lakhs of coins found during the excavation of sites in Guntur, Prakasam and Visakhapatnam districts. In fact, some of the relics belong to the second and third century BC. Later, the then governments shifted them to the AP State Museum, Hyderabad, for the benefit of tourists and research scholars. Some artefacts were even shifted over five decades ago, sources said.
“We are waiting for the decision of the higher officials. But so far there is no move to distribute those valuables. The AP government has to talk to its Telangana counterpart to bring the artefacts back. As of now, there is no discussion on shifting the artefacts. We also fear that the officials of the TS government may create hurdles during the shifting of these valuables,” said a senior official of the Archeology Department.
Not only the Buddhist artefacts, but even a few bronze antiques might be moved from the ‘Bronze Gallery’ at the museum. The gallery has an exquisite collection of over 200 rare bronze antiquities found in Guntur, East Godavari, West Godavari, Chittoor and Krishna districts. Also, the museum has around three lakh rare coins which were simply filled in the bags and stored in the rooms. “We have to reclaim our priceless property at the earliest. I also feel that there is a danger that these artefacts and antiquities may fall into the hands of smugglers and unscrupulous elements. In view of this, I want the AP government to take steps to get back our property that reflects our rich culture,” said GV Purnachand, historian, who is also the general secretary of the Krishna District Writers Association.
However, an official of the Archaeology Department said there was no place to house these artefacts and antiquities in Vijayawada.
“As of now, we do not have sufficient place to keep and protect the valuable collection. However, construction of the Coastal Museum is under progress,” he added.