BHUBANESWAR:The State Government is yet to stop movement of heavy vehicles on the road passing between the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udaygiri, a demand being made by the archaeologists since long.
Though a decision to close the road was taken in 2010, it is yet to be implemented due to lack of coordination between General Administration (GA) Department, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Tourism Department and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The Tourism Department had planned to put up gates at the starting and ending point of the road to prevent entry of vehicles and people were supposed to walk through it to enjoy the beauty of the twin hills.
Sources in the Department said the decision to close the road was delayed due to construction of an alternative road for movement of vehicles. A year back, construction of the road was completed to divert vehicles. The alternative road along with a parking space, which can accommodate 50 buses at a time, is part of the Jain Interpretation Centre Project near Khandagiri hills.
The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting last year and subsequently, the Tourism Department had written to the GA Department to initiate measures to close the road and divert the traffic towards the alternative road. The GA Department is yet to take a call on this.
Experts said movement of heavy vehicles is affecting the life span of the monuments. “Vibration from heavy vehicles was a threat to the sandstone monuments that date back to First Century BC,” said ASI Superintending Archaeologist of Bhubaneswar circle, Bhuvan Bikram. Members of Khandagiri Anchalika Bikash Parishad, who held a meeting over the issue on Saturday, said there is no scientific protection and preservation of the twin hills.
Khandagiri and Udaygiri were declared Centrally protected areas in 1912. The architecture revealed through the rock-cut caves and structural edifices in the twin hills has not been reported elsewhere in Eastern India so far. There are 18 caves in Udaygiri hills and 15 in Khandagiri hills.
Time and again, the ASI has been expressing concern that the hills were prone to losing their rare indigenous art due to burgeoning anthropological pressure.
Earlier, Tourism Secretary Arvind Padhee had asked the BDA and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take steps to ensure better visibility of the twin hills as unauthorised constructions blocked the view from a distance.