Heritage wall for Metro corridor plan

Patna City is unlikely to be brought under the proposed Metro rail network anytime soon for preservation of heritage.

By Piyush Kumar Tripathi
  • Published 4.02.16
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Patna City is unlikely to be brought under the proposed Metro rail network anytime soon for preservation of heritage.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar stands for the preservation of Patna's archaeological history intact while undertaking development projects.

According to historical texts, present day Patna City is settled over the ancient city of Pataliputra, which was the capital of the Mauryan empire in the regimes of Chandragupta Maurya and Asoka. So, the possibility of Patna City to be included in the Metro rail corridors is slight because of preservation of archaeological remains that could be buried in the old town area.

Nitish said as much in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday. "Patna is a historical city and was known as Pataliputra in ancient times. We will not allow Metro there until some technique is evolved that could ensure that underground tracks don't affect the historical value of the city," PTI reported him as saying at a programme in the neighbouring state.

Government sources said Patna City was part of the draft detailed project report presented before the chief minister in May last year but was later excluded from the final report in adherence to Nitish's directives.

Instructions have also been issued to the officials concerned to explore the possibility of digging underground Metro rail tracks in the Patna City area for any future expansions, without damaging any archaeological remains that could be buried underneath.

"According to the preliminary feasibility report, Metro rail tracks were proposed to run underground in the Patna City area. However, during a presentation of the corresponding draft detailed project report last year, the chief minister raised objections to the underground construction," said a senior official in the urban development and housing department. "So, we are now exploring the feasibility of other modes of construction, which would prevent any damage to the underground archaeological remains."

Experts said digging work for the Metro rail in the Patna City area must be done meticulously to protect artefacts buried underground.

A senior official in the state archaeological directorate, who did not wish to be named, said: "Patna City is a treasure of archaeological remains. It was the capital of the Mauryan empire during the regime of Chandragupta Maurya and Asoka. It was the centre of the region in the early medieval and medieval period as well. There have been numerous discoveries of valuable archaeological remains in and around Patna City."

As the Metro rail's status stands now, around half the total length of the corridor is proposed to be elevated and the rest underground. The Metro proposal envisages two corridors in the first phase of the Metro rail project, covering a distance of 31km.

TREASURE HUNT

Recent archaeological discoveries in Patna

♦ Ancient well from the Kushan period (1st-3rd century AD) on the premises of Magadh Mahila College in January 2015 
 Mauryan pottery (6th-12th century BC) found during construction of Jayaprakash Bhavan at Dakbungalow crossing in 1990s
 Artefacts from King Asoka's time found during construction of Patna Museum’s boundary wall
♦ Patna city believed to be settled over ancient city of Pataliputra, the capital of the Mauryan empire