Sadhu dreams of buried gold, government starts digging

(NDTV News, October 15, 2013)

The Archaeological Survey of India has sent a team of archaeologists to the village of Daundia Khera in Uttar Pradesh. They are due to start digging on Friday, Praveen Kumar Mishra, the head archaeologist in the state, told Reuters.

Yogi Swami Shobhan Sarkar says the gold he dreamt of belonged to a nineteenth-century ruler, Rao Ram Bux Singh. He says he wants it in government hands to help India recover from an economic crisis.

Not everyone is so keen to put bullion into the Reserve Bank of India's vaults. Temples sitting on about half as much gold as in Fort Knox are resisting efforts by the central Reserve Bank of India to audit their holdings.

Indians buy as much as 2.3 tonnes of gold, on average, every day - the weight of a small elephant - and what they don't give to the gods is mostly hoarded.

That is costing the economy dear, since India has few gold mines. Gold imports totalled $54 billion in the year ending on March 31, 2013, a major factor in swelling the current account deficit and undermining the rupee.

Swami Sarkar's dream haul of 1,000 tonnes would be enough to replace all of India's imports for a year and would be worth at least $40 billion.

The archaeologists plan to dig two 100-square-metre blocks beside the palace. Mishra, however, warned that there was as yet no proof that any treasure lay beneath the soil of Daundia Khera village.

"We are still searching for the exact location and whether there is any treasure. It is all in the future," he said. "We often just find pottery and metal antiquities, like agricultural tools or kitchen tools."
© Thomson Reuters 2013

Online comments:

We must encourage more such dreams. I am sure, there will be more and more digging for gold wherever the yellow metal is hoarded. A mad mad dream could draw attention and put government into action than the following comments published online(HBL, October 4, 2013):
“Gold which no doubt is the villain in the Indian economy can be reformed into a saviour, if there is a political will to seriously go ahead with the following initiatives(the list is illustrative) which have already seen some beginning during the last one year:
• Make a realistic estimate of surface gold stock in India. Individuals and institutions holding gold stock above a threshold level should report the quantum of gold held to a designated authority.
• Insist on standardisation of a reasonable portion of gold held by institutions. Infrastructure for such standardisation should precede.
• Encourage financial institutions to increase their gold portfolio. Organisations including religious institutions should be provided incentives to deposit gold with banks.
• Establish a National Registry to keep track of inflow, stock and outflow of gold in various forms.
• Encourage introduction of gold-backed investment instruments.”

M G Warrier, Mumbai
October 15, 2013


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