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Friday , May 16 , 2014
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Fresh funds for deeper digs
- NTPC Foundation offers Rs 20 lakh for restoration work at Vikramshila

The renovation and excavation work at the ancient site of Vikramshila Mahavihara would soon get a fresh lease of life owing to release of funds by the NTPC Foundation.

The first instalment of Rs 20 lakh has been handed over to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to renovate and maintain old edifices at the partially excavated site of Vikramshila World University.

The amount was transferred from NTPC Foundation to ASI through the National Culture Fund. NTPC would spend Rs 2 crore for works at the site. The ancient seat of learning is located at Antichak village in Kahalgaon sub-division of Bhagalpur.

M.S. Chouhan, the superintending archaeologist, Patna circle, was not available for comment as he was in a meeting at New Delhi on Thursday but sources in his Patna office confirmed that the amount (Rs 20 lakh) had been received. Sources added that with the amount, renovation and beautification drives would be initiated in 52 rooms of the western monastery at Vikramshila Mahavihara.

Sources said the maintenance work on the rear portion of the main stupa was essential and the pace of work would now be accelerated.

Earlier, the NTPC Foundation had announced to donate Rs 2 crore for the Vikramshila Mahavihara to ASI through National Culture Fund. In 2012, a joint team of officials of National Culture Fund, ASI and NTPC Foundation visited the partially excavated site.

The team consisted of ASI additional director Yuthika Patankr, then superintending archaeologist, ASI Patna circle, Sanjay K. Manjul, Agra circle deputy superintending archaeologist Nabratna Pathak, National Culture Fund consultant Lakshmi Priya, NTPC Foundation, New Delhi, senior official RKD Verma, the deputy general manger of NTPC, eastern sector I, B.K. Sharma, and others. The team had expressed concern over the heritage site.

“The funds were released in 2012 but owing to some technical problems in completing the formalities, it was delayed. We are hopeful that conservation works would be started on a war footing,” said a top official at NTPC, Kahalgaon.

“The state government remained inactive towards developing the site but NTPC funds would prove helpful for renovation,” said Pawan Kumar Choudhary, an expert in Vikramshila affairs.

N.K. Jaiswal, the convener of Vikramshila Naagrik Samity, an organisation, which has been fighting for inclusion of Vikramshila Mahavihara in the Buddhist circuit, also welcomed NTPC’s initiative.

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