The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to take up development activities at Belur and Halebid, well known for monuments of Hoysala period.
A world-class museum has been proposed at Halebid, considering the number of sculptures of historical value available for display.
Usha Sharma, Director General of the ASI, visited both the places and inspected how the monuments have been maintained. The officer discussed the proposed development activities with senior ASI officers including K. Moortheshwari, Superintendent Archaeologist, and gave them instructions.
Ms. Sharma said that there was a need for excavation works around Hoysaleshwara Temple in Halebid. The department would take up the excavation work so that the socio-cultural history of the Hoysala period could be understood better. A museum would come up in the place so that sculptures could be protected well, she said.
The Director-General opined that the monuments lacked proper security. She instructed the officers to ensure the safety of the structures by increasing security. The officers were directed to install metal detectors at the entrance gates. She also took the officers to task for poor maintenance of monuments and lack of basic amenities like drinking water for visitors. The DG also warned the local officers of disciplinary action for negligence in delivering their duties.
Meanwhile, ward and watch staff, hired temporarily to maintain the monuments, wanted to meet the Director-General and convey their problems. However, they did not get a chance to meet the officer.
The staff had been facing difficulty in getting their salary. When The Hindu brought the problems faced by the staff to her notice over the phone, the Director-General said she would look into the issue. Later in the day, Assistant Archaeologist of Halebid Museum P. Aravazhi was transferred to ASI headquarters in New Delhi for a period of two months. The order reached the officer within a few minutes after the DG left the place. However, he would continue to receive salary and allowances from Halebid office.
The reason for his transfer was not cited in the order.