An attempt to dig for hidden treasure on the pretext of developing a dilapidated stretch of road in Bakpitiya located within the Ampara Damana Divisional Secretariat has been reported to authorities, with no action being taken thus far.
According to area residents a group had carried out an isolated excavation in an area named Welipitiya which is located along the stretch of road currently being developed.
The excavation had been carried out on 05 Jun.
The Bakpitiya Grama Seva officer had informed of the incident to the Damana Divisional Secretariat who in turn had informed the Department of Archeology.
However, on 11 June area residents had been informed that the road would be closed for construction purposes for 24 hours.
The area in which the isolated excavation had taken place is an ancient archeological site, which is located below the visible stretch of road.
When officers from the Department of Archeology had arrived at the site, several ancient artifacts including a stone seat had been discovered at site which had been excavated by treasure hunters.
Interestingly when an official inquiry had been made from the contractor tasked with the road development contract regarding the illegal excavation, they had denied any involvement to the incident.
Despite the elapse of 10 following the illegal excavation by treasure hunters no course of action has been taken by the Department of Archology or Police.
Incidentally, Johnston Fernando serves as Sri Lanka’s Minister for Highways who is a politician with close ties to the Rajapaksa Family, including Namal Rajapaksa.