Three days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over safety of the Jagamohan prayer hall structure inside Puri’s Jagannath temple, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Monday said a team of experts will visit the site within 8 to 10 days for a detailed review. The team, he said, will be led by the Union Culture and Tourism Secretary.
In his letter, Odisha CM had sought the PM’s urgent intervention to avoid an accident inside the prayer hall.
The temple’s Jagamohan consists of horizontal platforms and it rests on four stone columns weighing 4.5 tonnes each. Recently, ASI officials had discovered that the stone column on the north-west side has developed a crack.
With concerns over the structure’s safety mounting, Pradhan Monday held a meeting with Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, ASI Director General Rajesh Tiwari and other officials at his home.
The ASI, meanwhile, has denied reports of rejecting a proposal of its technical core committee on the repair and restoration work of the Jagamohan.
Pradhan said the ASI, entrusted with the conservation of the temple, had received the report of its own technical core committee and that of the National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structures of IIT Chennai over ways to protect the monument. He added that central team will hold discussions with members of the technical core committee and hear the views of experts from IIT Bhubaneswar and NIT Rourkela.
“The team will meet Odisha chief secretary and senior government officials and prepare a draft project report on permanent repair of the inner side of Jagamohan by assessing the extent of the damage to its inner roof, which was noticed after its de-plastering,” he said, adding that there was no dearth of funds as PM Modi was personally monitoring the issue.
Union Culture Minister said the repair work had been delayed due to some technical problems.
ASI has been the overall in-charge of the protection and preservation of the temple since 1975. When the 12th century structure was built, no mortar was used for setting the stones, but balance maintained by placing one stone over another according to their shape and size. If for some reason, the balance is lost or the shape of the stone components undergoes a change, a collapse would become imminent.