Centre today assured Odisha government that a dedicated office of Archaeological Survey of India will be set up at Puri to expedite conservation and renovation of the 12th Century Jagannath Temple.
“The Secretary of the Union Ministry of Culture has assured me that a dedicated office of the ASI will be set up (at Puri),” chief administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Aravind Padhee said.
Padhee was talking to reporters here after meeting Union Culture Secretary Ravindra Singh at Puri.
“The temple administration has informed me about the conservation of the ancient shrine. Sri Jagannath Temple is an important place and we will do whatever required for its conservation,” Singh said.
He said that conservation work will be completed before Sri Jagannath’s Navakalebar Festival in 2015.
Singh also visited the famous Sun Temple at Konark and witnessed the conservation work being undertaken by the ASI.
Earlier, the state government had taken up the matter with the Centre after expressing displeasure over the conservation work.
Odisha’s Tourism and Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty, in a letter to his counterpart in the Union government Chandresh Kumar Katoch, had earlier said, “Painfully, the pace of repair and renovation work is getting slower at ASI level. The performance of local officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) circle in Bhubaneswar is not up to expectation.
“If the work is not completed within deadline, it will create a mess before Nabakalebara, which will ultimately hurt the emotions of millions of devotees,” Mohanty had said.
The ASI was accorded the task of protecting the temple complex in 1974-75. However, according to the state government, it was yet to gear up its machineries to take up conservation work.SJTA 12th century shrine Nabakalebar