Govt to relocate residents to protect Aihole monuments

ASI has banned construction work in the village with a population of 5,000

Govt to relocate residents to protect Aihole monuments

The Karnataka government has decided to relocate the residents of Aihole in the district by providing them alternative houses on the outskirts of the village, in a bid to protect the historical monuments there and ensure proper development.

The decision to shift 942 houses in the village, which has a population of around 5,000, has been taken as several historical monuments are situated in between the houses on narrow lanes, and are set to lose their historical significance.

Besides, grossly unaware of the historical significance of these monuments, local residents are using temples to shelter their livestock. There have also been instances of the villagers taking away stone slabs and boulders from ancient temples to construct walls for their houses.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has proposed that Aihole, once ruled by Chalukyas, be declared a World Heritage site. Therefore, it has banned all kinds of construction activities, including repair of existing buildings, and infrastructure development in the village.

As the ban has caused inconvenience to local residents, they have been pressuring the government for the past 15 years to relocate them.

It is said the move to relocate them gained momentum after Jagadish Shettar became the chief minister. Shettar’s wife Shilpa was born in Aihole.

Bagalkot MLA Veeranna Charanthimath is also said to have pressured the government to hasten the process.
Bagalkot Deputy Commissioner A M Kunjappa told Deccan Herald that the government decided to spend Rs 50.41 crore on rehabilitating the Aihole residents.

The process is likely to be completed in two years. A notification will be issued in a week’s time to acquire 282 acres of land on the outskirts of Aihole for the rehabilitation project, he said.

Aihole Village Relocation Struggle Committee president Ramanna Kuri said the government’s decision has brought cheers to Aihole residents. However, they fear that the relocation process would be hampered as farmers are reportedly opposed to giving up 282 acres of their land for the project.

122 ancient temples

As many as 122 ancient temples/monuments are situated in Aihole and the famous among them are the Durga temple, the Galaganatha temple, the Huchumalli temple, Laadkhan, Meguthi and Ravalapadi Guhanthara temples.

There are several Buddist, Jain, Shaiva and Vaishnava temples in Aihole.

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