Bhubaneswar, Oct. 7: The state government has formulated a plan to ensure parking space for visitors to major monuments in the capital’s Old Town area.
While the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected temples such as Rajarani, Brahmeswar, Bhaskareswar and Mukteswar will have dedicated parking facilities, two more temples — Baitala and Megheswar — and the sacred Papanashini pond will get revamped drainage system.
The government has already issued instructions to various departments in this regard.
The move was taken after it was found that a portion of land on the western side of the Rajarani temple, which is privately occupied, belonged to the protected 11th-Century monument. The land will now be used for parking vehicles of visitors.
State tourism and culture secretary Ashok Kumar Tripathy said: “The government has asked Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Development Authority and general administration department to free the area of encroachment so that public works department can construct a parking lot there by October 19.”
The state tourism department, in association with the Australian high commission, is going to organise the Oz Festival on the premises of the temple where leading native Australian singer-cum-song composer Gurrumul Yunupingu will perform. Another traditional Australian drone pipe artiste, Mark Atkins, will also perform on the occasion.
Parking and public convenience facilities will come up not only at Rajarani temple, but also near Brahmeswar, Bhaskareswar and Mukteswar temples. The work will start after an eviction drive by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, the general administration department and the city police will free encroachments surrounding these structures.
“The chief secretary has asked the authorities concerned to take up the work on priority basis,” said Tripathy.
Besides preparing a roadmap for the development of parking places, construction of toilets, drainage of rainwater and removal of encroachment, the government agencies will also work to remove hoardings that block the view of the important temples at Old Town.
State cultural director Sushil Kumar Das said: “The roads are encroached on both the sides and near the front portion of the Brahmeswar temple. A parking space will be built there after encroachment is removed. The ASI was also requested to build a gate and a parking space behind the Bhaskareswar temple.”
ASI superintending archaeologist of Bhubaneswar circle A.K. Patel has already requested its director-general to grant permission to build the structures.
“A parking space will also be built near the Mukteswar temple, which is famous for its beautiful arches. The parking space will come after removal of encroachments surrounding the monument,’’ said a senior official of the culture department.
The state government has also asked the chief engineer of drainage division to build a proper drainage system near the 7th Century Baitala and Megheswar temples.
While the state housing and urban development department will ensure removal of encroachment around the temples, the municipal corporation will be asked to change the gradient of the drain which is already in place near the Megheswar temple. The present drain is unable to carry water from the temple premises.
The drainage division will also formulate a plan to ensure that rainwater generated on the Lingaraj temple premises is released into the Papanashini tank.
The tank’s peripheral areas will also be cleaned as a road project is already under way in the area.