Rampant illegal quarrying is posing a serious threat to the famous Buddhist site at Udayagiri under Darpan tehasil limits in the district. The district administration has failed to regulate illegal mining at this internationally acclaimed historical site despite repeated pleas by the locals.

Udayagiri Buddhist site is located in Udayagiri hillock. The Buddhist monuments are found located at the foothills of the large Udayagiri hill. This hill is also full of minor minerals like morrrum and laterite stones. Hundreds of loads of rocks are illegally transported from this foot hill of this hillock every day.

Although the government has declared the hill as protected site, reckless illegal mining in close proximity of this protected site continues unabated with the silent backing of the revenue officials. “Udayagiri hill which houses Buddhist treasures has been declared protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

But reckless illegal mining activities in close proximity of the protected site have posed a serious threat to this national monuments,” said Rasmi Ranjan Jena, a local villager.

He said hundreds of loads of morrum and laterite stones are being illegally transported from this foot hill of Udayagiri hillock every day. “Local mafias in connivance with the corrupt revenue officials are carrying out illegal mining during night.

They have even lifted huge quantity of morrrum from the boundary wall of the Buddhist hill by digging which will collapse at any time,” he said adding our repeated pleas to the district administration yeiled no result. If the illegal mining of minor minerals is not stopped immediately, this famous Buddhist site will incur substantial harm, he added.

The central government in a directive has banned mining activities within five km radius of any protected monument. But, such illegal activity are on under the very nose of the authorities.

Even the mafias are allegedly disobeying the Prohibitory orders at the site.“We had clamped Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CRPC at Udayagiri hillock to prevent rampant illegal quarrying at Udayagiri Buddhist site a couple of years ago,” said Darpani tehasildar Ashok Kumar Das.

He further said the illegal quarrying at Udayagiri site is carrying out during night. “We will certainly conduct raid at the site and arrest the illegal quarry operators,” he said.

Udayagiri, best known as Madhavapura Mahavihara, was a Vajrayana centre during the 8th and 9th century AD. Udaygiri is home to remains of several stupas and Buddhist monasteries.