SIVAGANGA: The Central government has no intention to either stop or delay the excavation works at the Keezhadi archaeological site, said Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma to mediapersons, during a visit to the site in the district on Friday.
“Normally, excavation works at archaeological sites are conducted for five years (seasons). Two seasons have been completed at the Keezhadi site. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will carry out the work for the remaining three seasons without any hindrance,” the minister assured.
Underlining that the Central government was proud of the discovery at Keezhadi site, Sharma said, “The excavation has proved that a civilization and culture existed in the second century. The Central government wants to highlight the greatness of all the states under the banner, One India Great India,” he said.
Commenting on the transfer of Keezhadi site in-charge and Superintending Archaeologist K Amarnath Ramakrishna, Sharma said that it was just an institutional decision. “The transfer was simply based on the policy adopted by the ASI last year,” added Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman.
Asked whether the Centre did not want to allow research at the site as Hindutva groups were not happy with the discovery which proved that an advanced and secular Tamil civilisation, independent of the Hindu tradition, may have existed in the South during the Sangam era, ASI Director General Rakesh Tiwari said that all the excavation sites and discoveries were equal and important to the ASI.
He said that the third season of the excavation would start in a few days. Sharma pointed out that the delay for allocating fund for the site was because the annual report on the work done in the past two years was not submitted on time. Once it was submitted, the government immediately cleared Rs 40 lakh for the third phase of the excavation, he stated.