Bhubaneswar: Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has said that the issues raised by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over negligence in preservation of Sun Temple in Konark are not justified.
In a letter to the Chief Minister released to media on Thursday, Sharma said the statement about replacing 40% of original carving is not true as nowhere such action has been taken.
“For structural stability, where there is no evidence of decorations/carvings, the plain stone work has been applied. However, some restorations of original features have been done where enough evidence of original existence was available,” said the Minister.
The temple represents a chariot of Sun God and is one of the world heritage sites declared by UNESCO.
He said all such works have been carried out keeping in view the tenets of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conservation manual and other prevalent international conservation charters and guidelines.
“In addition, the intricately carved stone panels are duly taken care by ASI by regular monitoring and cleaning with paper pulp and other suitable methods thereby considerably reducing the rate of deterioration of stone surfaces,” he added.
He also said that care has also been taken to control the environs of the monument thereby reducing the impact of salt laden winds as well as sand particles on the temple surfaces.
“Thus due to continuous care, conservation and maintenance work by the ASI, the Sun Temple Konark is in a good state of preservation and the issues raised are not justified,” said the Minister.
Notably, the Chief Minister, basing on media reports, had requested the Central government to conduct an inquiry about the replacement of artistic stone carvings at Konark Sun Temple with plain stones.