Madhya Pradesh in India is home to a plethora of archaeological and historical sites. From the prehistoric rock shelters of Bhimbetka to the grand forts of Mandu and Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh showcases its sites from a large spectrum of human history and habitation in the area.
But, it is also one of the most mineral-rich regions in the country. Hence unrestrained and unsanctioned mining in the area often threaten the historical sites and endanger ecological stability.
One of the sites that are imminently threatened from industrial and development activity is Satgarh Kadan. It is littered with archaeological sites, some of which are cave painting which dates back to 25000 BCE. Those treasures might get submerged in the coming years due to a planned irrigation project. The sites are already imperilled by vandalism from local miscreants. Rock paintings in Buxwah in the neighbouring Chattapur district are also threatened by a diamond mining project.
An ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) report compiled by Dr Sujeet Narayan (ASI Superintendent — Jabalpur Circle) underlines the importance of these sites and the immediate need to preserve them.
But, on the flip side, Madhya Pradesh is one of the most drought-prone areas of the country. The irrigation project is anticipated to bring much-needed respite to the farmers of the region.
An online petition has been launched which appeals to the government to save the archaeological sites in the same way Abu Simbel in Egypt was relocated when its original site was submerged due to the Aswan High Dam. The government must find a balance between saving the country’s heritage while ameliorating the hardships of the local farmers. Archaeology enthusiasts are encouraged to sign the petition.