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Dec date for temple work

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 15: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will complete all conservation and repair work at the Sri Jagananth temple in Puri by December this year.

On behalf of the ASI, Union culture secretary Ravindra Singh today gave this assurance to the state government at a meeting attended by chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra and several other senior officials.Singh said: “The repair work at the 12th century shrine will be completed much before the Nabakalebara. Necessary direction has been issued to the ASI to this effect.”

About 50 lakh devotees are expected to congregate at Puri to witness the famous festival in which the idols of the Trinity will be changed.

However, repair and conservation work at the Sun Temple in Konark would be undertaken after the steering committee, which is working on the safety of the temple, submits its final report. The steering committee will meet within a month.The repair and restoration of the singhadwar (main entrance) of Jagannath temple will be completed by March this year. All work related to joint sealing, grouting and repair of the kalasa and chakra of the Jagmohan of Puri temple will also be completed by then.

Besides, the Puri temple will be de-plastered by June. Flooring in areas surrounding the temple will be renovated and around 70 per cent of the flooring stones will be replaced.

Chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra said: “The government will provide necessary minor mineral linkage for conservation and restoration of the temple.”

However, the Odisha government has asked the ASI to specify the minor minerals, such as Khandolite stones, required for restoration of the temple within 15 days.

“We hope restoration will be completed by December end, whereas scaffoldings around the temple will be removed before the rath yatra next year,” said another official.

Chief administrator of the temple Arvind Padhee said: “Orders will be issued for establishment of an ASI unit in Puri within a fortnight.”

Sources said that during the meeting, the state government had also submitted a detailed project report on the need for renovation of the Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar, the New Rabindra Kalakatak in Cuttack and the New Rabindra Kalakshetra in Puri.

The state also argued in favour of the need for establishing a pattachitra school at Raghurajpur village.

“A sub-committee of the National School of Drama will shortly visit the state to examine these proposals,” said another official.

The state government also requested the Union culture secretary to initiate steps to establish a regional centre of the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya in Odisha.