Expressing concern over the slow pace of conservation works in the Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha government has urged the Union Culture Ministry to ensure Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) expedites restoration and renovation works in the temple built in the 12th century.
“The pace of progress and urgency to complete the conservation works by the ASI appears to be sluggish. You are aware that we have a fairly tight time schedule in view of the Nabakalebar Festival scheduled in July, 2015. The nagging problem of humidity and temperature inside the Garvagriha (Sanctum Sanctorum) also remains unresolved,” noted Chief Secretary J. K. Mohapatra in a letter to Union Culture Secretary Rabindra Singh.
“Two technical committees, one under the Chairmanship of Prof. Dr. A. P.Gupta, former head of Civil Engineering Department of IIT-Kharagpur were constituted by ASI in 1992-1993 for conservation work of Ganragriha with Director (Conservation), Director (Science) and other senior officials of ASI. Officials of the State Government were appointed as members of another technical expert committee under the Chairmanship of Director General, ASI constituted by ASI in 2006 for effective guidance and monitoring of the works of Jagannath Temple,” Mr. Mohapatra pointed out.
He said, “the technical committee members inspected the inside of Garvagriha during the annual Car Festival period when the inside premises become accessible after the deities leave the place for about seven days for conducting inspection, routine conservation work and emergency rectification works.”
“This year, annual car festival falls on June 29 and inspection of Garvagriha has been scheduled at 10 a.m. on July 2,” Odisha Chief Secretary said, requesting Culture Ministry to advise the DG (ASl), Director (Conservation), Director (Science) and other senior officials of ASI to expedite the works and resolve all issues relating to conservation of Jagananath temple.
Besides, representatives of ASI in the two technical committees should participate in the joint inspection of the Garvagriha scheduled on July 2, he insisted. It needs to be mentioned that Odisha government anticipates that Nabakalebar Festival of Lord Jagannath will be a mini-Kumbhmela. It expects nearly 50 lakh visitors during the nine-day-long Car Festival.