Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 1:
A piece of stone slab has dislodged from atop the Jagamohan (frontal porch), facing the main temple of Lord Jagannath in Odisha’s pilgrim town on Saturday evening, raising may questions over the conservation of the 12th century shrine as this is the second such occurrence within a month. However, no casualty has been reported in the incident.
At around 8 pm last night, a piece of stone slab came falling fanning anger among the devotees and temple administration officials.
Notably, the statutory technical advisory committee for conservation of the Jagannath temple had suggested measures to be carried out for the conservation and preservation of the temple.
The committee, in its report, had specifically stressed that the structures in the area adjoining the porch of the Jagamohan have become weak. This apart, the iron beam placed to provide support to these structures should be replaced with stainless steel beam as it has corroded with time.
Surprisingly, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has been entrusted with conservation and restoration of the world famous temple, dismantled these iron beams in December last without paying much attention to the technical advisory committee recommendations.
During that time, the move of the ASI, reasons best known to them, had caused resentment among people over the temple’s safety as the portion of the shrine was weak.
People feared that there could be many such stones coming off the temple. With their apprehensions coming true, two such incidents have happened in the temple premises in a month– a piece of stone slab falling from the Jalakrida Mandap near Bimala temple on the western side of the main temple in February first week and the last night incident being the latest.
ASI’s callous and negligent attitude towards the temple has compromised the restoration and conservation of the shrine, an official alleged on conditions of anonymity.