Lucknow, April 28: The Archaeological Survey of India today told the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court that excavations in Ayodhya had not reached the natural soil and digging has to continue.
“Digging so far has found concrete foundations in some trenches, dumping materials at some places but (is) yet to hit the natural soil… thus the digging should continue,” the ASI team said in its mid-term progress report to the bench.
The three-page report, submitted to the bench of Justices Sudhir Narain, Bhanwar Singh and S.R. Alam, said digging has been carried out in 33 trenches. “In few trenches, foundation structures have been found and these are estimated to be of two to three years of the Christian era,” it said.
The report has also sought permission to start digging at the Ram Chabutra — the central place of the religious site. “(The) Administration should provide adequate security to carry out digging at that place,” it added.
The report specified that the diggers were working on the basis of the preliminary ground-penetrating survey carried out by Tojo Vikas International, an Indo-Canadian firm.
The ASI, which started digging on March 12 to settle once and for all whether a temple predated a mosque at the site, has not sought another extension of the deadline. The court had earlier extended the April 11 deadline by five weeks to May 17 in its April 4 order. But parties to the dispute differed on what the court should do in case the excavators want to continue digging beyond that date.
While one of the litigants, the Nirmohi Akhara, pleaded with the court not to be rigid about the deadline but allow digging till a definite conclusion could be reached, another litigant, the Sunni Central Waqf Board, opposed the plea.