Harappan site mound: Rehabilitation plan puts Rakhigarhi villagers in a fix

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By, Rakhigarhi (hisar)
Feb 23, 2020 11:16 PM IST

Located at around 58km from Hisar, Rakhigarhi is the site of pre-Indus Valley Civilisation dating back to about 6500 BC

More than 175 families in Rakhigarhi village of Hisar district’s Narnond sub-division are in a fix over their rehabilitation as the government plans to build this Harrapan site as a tourist hub.

HT Image
HT Image

Located at around 58km from Hisar, Rakhigarhi is the site of pre-Indus Valley Civilisation dating back to about 6500 BC. Later, it was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation (2600-1900 BC). The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had carried excavations on more than seven mounds located near the village and had recovered important elements of the Harrapan and Pre-Harrapan civilisation, including human skeletons.

Minister of state for tourism and culture (MoS) Prahlad Singh Patel on Sunday visited the village to check the progress of work and interact with the administration and locals.

A resident, Vickey Malik, said,“There are nine mounds out of which more than 175 families are staying near mound number 4 and 5. The government had announced rehabilitation by providing these people with a plot each of 100 square yard. However, the families are big and will not be able to accommodate in small houses.”

He said the villagers are confused about their future.

An elderly man, Raj Kumar, said, “Whenever we see government officials here we get scared that they will demolish our houses. We are not against development. But after years of earning we were able to make our houses. The government must plan for proper rehabilitation or else where we will go?”

The villagers, who gathered in large numbers, told the minister that not a single villager is against development. However, they said no official is clearing their confusion. “The government must clear their stand regarding rehabilitation and a road that directly connects Rakhigarhi village from Hisar district headquarters,” the villagers said.

Patel has asked the officials to explain why meetings were not conducted with the locals.

While talking to mediapersons, the MoS said Rakhigarhi is the biggest site of Harrapan culture. Dholavira and Rakhigarhi carry archaeological importance and the Centre will provide all kind of help to the state to develop these two sites.

“The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and Pune’s Deccan University conducted excavations at this site and even got skeletons from the mound, which tells the history of ancient people of Harrapan culture. There are problems of the villagers too, which will also be kept in front of the higher authorities. I am sure that the government will resolve their problems. The motive is to create this site as the biggest tourist hub,” Patel said.

In May 2018, the local administration following direction of the Punjab and Haryana high court had demolished 20 houses constructed on mound 4.

Meanwhile, around 100 women met deputy commissioner Priyanka Soni near mound number 4 and requested her to not demolish their houses, which are closer to the mound. The Dc said their problems will be addressed.

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