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Push to temple repair

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 14: The Centre today assured the state government that the Archaeological Survey of India would expedite the repair of Sri Jagananth temple in Puri.

It has also agreed to open an office of the deputy superintending archaeologist in Puri to facilitate repair and conservation of the 12th century shrine.

The assurance came after the temple administration today lodged a protest on the slow progress of work by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with the Union culture secretary Ravindra Singh, who the Jagannath temple in Puri and the Konark Sun temple. Puri temple chief administrator Arvind Padhee said: “They have assured us to complete the repairs by December, 2014, six months ahead of the next Nabakalebara, which is scheduled to be held in July 2015.”

Earlier, the state had threatened to go to Orissa High Court on the issue of the ASI’s inordinate delay in repairing the temple.

The Union culture secretary is also scheduled to have another round of meeting with the state government officials, including chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, on this issue tomorrow.

Padhee said that the secretary also assured to open the deputy superintending archaeologist’s office here.

“It has been our long-standing demand. Once the office is opened, the repair works will naturally be expedited. A full team will be available at Puri to inspect the work,” he said.

The state government has already submitted Rs 91 crore plan to the ASI to take up repair and renovation of the temple.

“The repair would be done according to the report of the expert committee which had made a complete survey of the main temple and other shrines on the premises. The plan includes landscaping outside the temple,” said Padhee.