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ASI nod for caves show

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: The ambitious light and sound show to be showcased at the ancient Udayagiri caves by the Union ministry of tourism has got the nod from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The state tourism department has intimated the Union ministry regarding the go-ahead for the light and sound show.

Sources in the tourism department said they got the green signal from the ASI last month. In another development, the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), which has been entrusted the job of preparing a project report for the show, submitted the revised report to the Union ministry around two months ago.

Sources in the tourism department said the revised plan includes adopting non-inclusive technology, which will sideline the use of wires and cables to host the show.

“The technology involves use of projector to create light effect and at the same time there will be no cable fittings, ensuring that the monument remains untouched,” said a senior official of the department. He said the technology would be on a par with that used in hosting a similar show in Red Fort of New Delhi.

The ITDC has also submitted an estimate of around Rs 6 crore for the project. However, the filming and voice of Amitabh Bachchan, which had been recorded earlier, is likely to remain the same in the show. The light and sound show will help visitors know more about the history of Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves. A part of the show will be freshly produced with new content and it will be first screened before a committee.

The light and sound show started in 2005 by the Union ministry was scrapped because of protests from various quarters regarding preservation of the monument. The project was discontinued as the wiring caused harm to the site especially the Rani Gumpha in Udayagiri.

Many archaeologists had alleged that the tourism department and ASI authorities had handed over the project to an ordinary group of electricians without giving them any briefing about the heritage site.

State tourism director H.S Upadhyay said the work for the sound and light show would start once the funds were released. “We have submitted the proposals and are waiting for the approval of the Union ministry,” said Upadhyay.

However, experts feel that various aspects regarding the monument should be considered before starting any work.