The Neolithic petroglyphs on the walls of Edakkal caves on the Ambukuthi hills in Wayanad district, a gold mine for archaeologists, historians, and scientists, still wait for security from illegal constructions, mining, and urbanisation.
The mushrooming of resorts on the hills by significantly modifying the topography and widespread mining activities are the significant risks being faced by the Edakkal caves.
As much as 5.5 acres of land around the caves is safeguarded, and all kinds of construction activities are banned on 300 m around the premises. Though the State government had made the declaration 5 years back, the land is yet to be handed over to the Archaeology Department after study. The department had actually paid 1 lakh to the Revenue Department for the purpose 4 years back.
Constructions activities have actually happened near the collapse the past and such work can be stopped effectively just after the proposed study, sources state.
As many as 4 resorts had actually been built flouting all norms in the ecologically fragile area at Ambukuthy Pathonpahtu and nearly six buildings were under method in the area after bulldozing the hills, says U.K. Preman, ward member, Nenmeni grama panchayat.
Two of the resorts were constructed on getting authorizations to develop jeep sheds, Mr. Preman said. Near to five landslips occurred in the area throughout the monsoon after the constructions, he added.
Archaeology UNESCO directive
A workshop held at Sulthan Bathery on saving Edakkal petroglyphs in 2013, as part of protecting World Heritage Monolith status by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Company) for the monolith, had talked about possible dangers to the rock carvings, consisting of unrestricted construction and mining activities in the location and clinical procedures to conserve the monument. Though the workshop handed over its suggestions to the department, no action had actually been taken, he stated.
Though the department had actually appointed an officer to keep an eye on day-to-day activities at the monument in 2009, the post has remained vacant for the past 6 years.
The first cave was closed to tourists in 2015 after a huge stone collapsed into it, but the authorities concerned are yet to take any step to open it after performing a study.
A few years ago, the government had actually banned all types of building and construction on the premises of the caverns to save the Neolithic inscriptions. However building and construction of resorts and prohibited quarrying utilizing dynamites have actually been going on without restraint, says P.K. Achuthan, convener, Ambukuthi Hill Conservation Committee. The activities are posing a severe risk to the rock shelters and hundreds of families residing on the hill slopes at Kuppakolly, Edakkal, Andikkavala, Vellachattam, Pattiyambam, and Govinda Moola, Mr. Achuthan said.
Two big water tanks, with a capability of more than 1,000 litres, are being set up on the hill for resorts. They present a severe danger to the homeowners of a tribal settlement on the slopes of the hill, he included.