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Puri threat to ASI

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 1: Jagannath temple authorities have threatened to move court against the Archaeological Survey of India for its alleged tardiness in repairing the Puri shrine.

The ASI had begun repairing the temple’s Singha Dwara or main gate on an Orissa High Court order in March, but a temple official said all work had stopped for the past four months.

“If the dilly-dallying continues, we will move court,” temple chief administrator Arvind Padhee said.

The temple management is worried that the repairs will not be complete before the next Nabakalebara festival, scheduled for July 2015. Nearly 50 lakh devotees are expected at the 12-yearly festival, during which the idols of the Trinity are replaced.

State culture and tourism minister Maheswar Mohanty too voiced disappointment with the ASI.

“After cyclone Phailin, no work has yet been taken up by the ASI. It will become difficult for them to complete the repair-and-restoration project before the Nabakalebara festival,” Mohanty said.

An ASI team visited the temple yesterday. “We have filed a petition with the high court seeking more time to complete the work. We will engage skilled workers,” ASI superintending archaeologist Bhuban Vikrama said.

The ASI was given the job of protecting the complex in the year 1974-75.