Coal mining threatens Amlarem’s heritage site

From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: Illegal and unscientific mining of coal has threatened the very existence of the famous stone bridge over Thlumuwi river, 15 km from Jowai

This bridge on Jowai- Amlarem-Dawki road is close to the regulated area declared under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological sites and Remains (Amendment and validation) Act, 2010.

The Thlu-muwi stone bridge, which was constructed 500 years ago by one of the Jaintia kings, may disappear if precautions are not taken by concerned authorities.

The stone bridge was used by Jaintia Kings while travelling from his summer capital — Nartiang to the winter capital — Jaintiapur (now in Bangladesh). It is believed that stone bridges in War Jaintia are historical evidence of the existence of Jaintia Kings.

The bridge consists of huge well hewn granite stone slabs perched on equally similar pillars. Beside the stone bridge is also the Muwi Waterfalls.

Thlumuwi river with the cascading Muwi Waterfall overlooking the stone bridge presents an imposing sight.

It may be mentioned that one of the four stones joining the stone bridge across Thlumuwi River was broken and left without repair for more than 200 years, according to a local resident.

Jaintia people also believe that the stone collapsed when the King’s Elephant was trying to cross the river

Thlumuwi is one of the beauty spot in War Jaintia that can attract tourists. As one travelling along the JAD road while crossing the river, on the left there is the stone bridge and on the right – the beautiful Amwi falls flowing from the famous Thwai Syiem.

With an aim to develop the area as one of the tourist destinations, the Jaintia Hills District Administration repaired the broken part of the stone bridge in 2008 and constructed a footpath to Amwi Falls.

The unscientific coal mining close to the regulated area has threatened the existence of the stone bridge.

Interestingly, a mining pit was opened just on the roadside close to the river near the stone bridge. It damaged the PWD Road. In order to protect the stone bridge from degradation and before the site gets completely destroyed, mining activities should be stopped immediately, feel concerned residents of the locality.

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