Koti Lingala village, which was the earliest capital of Satavahana rulers and has archeological significance, would be submerged once Sripada Yellampalli project across the Godavari River in Karimnagar district is completed.
Heritage and social activists, who visited the project site, expressed fear that the project would not only displace the people in 19 villages, but also submerge the important site identified as one of the examples of river valley civilisation in Deccan region.
“Spread across 110 acres, the area is of archeological importance as people here still continue to recover artifacts like coins, pottery and beads,” they claimed.
Situated in Velgatoor mandal of Karimnagar district, the site was discovered in 1979, but failed to make it to the list of notified sites of monuments by Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
“It is the most important site to be discovered in Deccan region. We may discover significant historical objects that would throw light on the Satavahanas and their culture,” said M Vedakumar, Co-Convenor, INTACH, AP Chapter.
The activists, who walked across the fields at the site, found pieces of pottery and bricks dating back to 2nd BC and two irrigation well that were still intact.
Though the archeological department excavated the site a few years ago, the issue has been buried under the dust of time. In the meantime, the State government took a decision to complete the Yellampalli project, they informed.
However, the villagers, who would displaced, did not get any support from the government as part of rehabilitation scheme. It is alleged that the project violated Forest Extension Act and PESA Act.
“The villagers are getting a meager amount between Rs one lakh to Rs 2 lakkh as compensation while the value of their lands is actually Rs 10 lakh each. How the government would rehabilitate them?” questions Vedakumar.
According to him, only seven sites were enlisted from Telangana region by the ASI out of 138 sites from the entire State.
Claiming the integrity of the site that stayed intact for more than 2,000 years, he believes that the site could be nominated as World Heritage Site, if excavations prove successful.
Referring to one of the instances of state of neglect the archeological sites have met, Vedakumar ponted out that Pashgoan close to Koti Lingala village had a Buddhist Stupa on a mound. A portion of mound was removed for laying road during 2006 damaging the entire structure.
He further demanded establishment of a museum at Koti Lingala village on the lines of Amaravathi and Nagarjuna Konda after taking up excavations in order to promote the history and culture of Deccan.
Courtesy: Hans India