Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Feb 14:
Experienced senior sculptors have expressed doubts over the completion of the ongoing renovation work of Odisha’s 12th century Shri Jagannath temple before the deadline set by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Senior sculptor Pratap Moharana said on Friday that with the engagement of a handful of sculptors by the ASI in the repair and restoration of the Gumuta of the 12th century shrine, it will be difficult to meet the March 2014 deadline fixed by the ASI.
He further said Gumuta repair involved minute inspection and replacement of weak stones and that would require at least 60 sculptors with appropriate skills daily to complete the work within the deadline.
Moharana who is a team member of the sculptors engaged by ASI in the renovation work ,while expressing his surprise over the ASI’s claim of meeting the deadline with the current progress of work, termed it as mere ‘day dreaming’.
On the other hand, Jibanjyoti Pattnayak, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI claimed that the work was in full swing and hoped to complete the repair job by March end.
Shri Jagannath Temple chief administrator, Arvind Padhee said that they have the ASI authorities’ assurances on the completion the repair work of the Gumuta by March end and that by June, the temple will be given a fresh coat after the removal of the lime plaster.
Padhee said he was hopeful of the ASI keeping its promise of making the temple free of scaffoldings by December this year.
Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal has sent a notice to ASI in response to a petition by environmentalist Subhas Dutta over ASI’s inordinate delay in executing repair work. Dutta in his petition has alleged that the ASI lacked technical expertise for the temple’s conservation work.