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The Madras High Court on Friday impressed on the Centre the need to show greater vigour and interest in proceeding with the excavations that had led to promising discovery of an ancient civilisation having thrived on the banks of river Vaigai at Keezhadi village in Sivaganga district.

In Brief:

High Court also insisted that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should transfer back its superintending archaeologist K. Amarnath Ramakrishna, serving in Assam since 2017, for continuing the excavations began by him at Keezhadi in 2015. The judges granted two weeks’ time to the counsel for ASI to get the official transferred back. Excavations will reveal the pride of Tamil people world wide, but the Court is confused about the adamancy of the Centre in this issue. The oral observations were made during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed in the Madurai Bench
of the High Court challenging the 2017 transfer of Mr. Ramakrishna.

Prelims titbits: A must read for Prelims

ASI (Archaeological Survey of India)

  •  An Indian Government Agency attached to the Ministry of Culture.
  •  It is responsible for the Archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in
    the country.
  •  Founded in1861 by Alexander Cunningham, who was also its first
    Director general.
  • It was founded in 1861 by a statute passed in to a law by Lord Canning
    and Alexander Cunningham was the first surveyor.
  • Survey was suspended briefly between 1865 and 1871 due to lack of
    funds and was restored by Lord Lawrence, the then Viceroy of India.
  • In 1871 it was revived as a separate department and Cunningham was
    appointed as the first director general.
  •  Under the provisions of the AMSAR act 1958, the ASI administers
    more than 3650 ancient monuments, sites and remains of national
  •  The site also maintains ancient mounds and other similar sites which
    represent the remains of ancient habitation.

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