HYDERABAD: The treasure hunt at the Vidyaranya High School took a new turn on Tuesday with officials stopping excavation work and instead, beginning to work on the “theory” that there could be a “network of tunnels and bunkers” from the ANGRAU College of Home Science and the Mint Compound to the Naubat Pahad or the Birla Mandir Hill. They hope to find their way to the treasure by following this hypothesis. This, after three days of digging at three different spots!
It appears that neither the archeology department officials nor their colleagues from the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and even the petitioner, D Sitarama Raju, have any clue. Raju, one of the nine petitioners whose petition has sparked off this wild goose chase, claims that he has seen an iron gate in a tunnel but fails to remember where!
The archeology department officials have so far got the workers to dig up a 10-ft deep trench.
On Tuesday morning, a nine-member team from the NMDC arrived to conduct, what they called a “preliminary inspection” with the help of a GPS device and tried to map the area as no maps are available. An official from the NMDC team told City Express that in the “first stage” a GPS device was used for geographical survey of the area since no maps or literature was available. Acknowledging the constraints faced in assisting in an archeological excavation, another member pointed out that the terrain was unexplored and “we do not have a map to follow unlike in a mining project.”
He explained that they had surveyed the geography of the area, tried to link the coordinates and form a route map. In this process, according to him, they are trying to find a possible relation between the explored bunkers within a radius of 400 metres and this “elusive unexplored tunnel with the treasure” underneath the Naubat Pahad.
Archeology & Museums Director Prof P Chenna Reddy told the media that they had also sought the assistance of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to clear stagnant water from the bunkers at the ANGRAU College of Home Science and the Mint Compound. “After this, the department would be able to inspect the bunkers and the possibility of a relation between them and the treasure,” he said.
The nine-member NMDC team waited till 5 in the evening when a few experts came along with some devices to help them in mapping the area. The second stage of this operation, according to the NMDC officials, is called a ‘registivity survey’, which helps in detecting hollow ground. The officials are planing to go ahead with the work on Wednesday when the school reopens.
Earlier in the day, Tourism Secretary Chandana Khan too dropped in to check the “progress” of the excavation. She said the process was on with the help of scientific and technological assistance from the NMDC and clarified that no specific time-frame could be given for the completion of the work. To a question as to why they are taking a petition filed by someone so seriously, she replied, “if there is any information, it is out duty to examine and verify it.”