Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 13:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking emergency structural intervention to avoid an accident in the Jagamohana of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri which is presently in a distressed condition.
“I would like to bring to your kind attention about the present distressed condition of Jagamohana of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, which needs emergency structural intervention to avoid any accidental failure. The Jagamohana structure, the Prayer Hall of the temple complex, is an integral part of this 900-year-old historical monument of Odisha, presently under the maintenance of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” wrote the Chief Minister in his letter.
“I may bring to your kind notice that an intervention scheme with stainless steel supporting frames to address the acute structural problems of ‘Jagamohana’ was forwarded by the Superintendent Archaeologist, Bhubaneswar for approval of the Director General, ASI based on the recommendation of the Technical Core Committee, which was constituted by ASI for overseeing the conservation work of ‘Jagamohana’. Unfortunately the intervention scheme has been disapproved by the Director General, ASI without proposing any alternative solution to avoid any unforeseen failure with suggestion for further study. We are highly concerned about such indifferent attitude of ASI as any further delay in addressing the problem may lead to a serious situation. Similar problems had occurred in the past in the Sun Temple at Konark leading to the collapse of its ‘Jagamohana’ pillars for which it had to be filled with sand to protect the monument thereby completely preventing entry inside,” he said.
“You may kindly appreciate that Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri is one of the four important places of Hindu Religion and thousands of devotees from across the globe visit the monument every day. I would, therefore, request your kind personal intervention in the matter to save this monument before any unfortunate incident. The Director General, ASI may be instructed to reconsider the proposal and come up with a concrete solution as early as possible in the interest of the safety of this holy shrine. The Government of Odisha undertakes to bear all the expenditures for the work,” Patnaik urged.
“I have been informed that the condition of the inside of ‘Jagamohana’ is alarming due to severe distress/ deterioration in its critical structural components resulting in dislodging / cracking of capital stone layers atop the pillar head of the four central columns besides extensive structural cracks in the stone beams over these columns supporting the pyramidal roofing structure. Incidents of falling of stones from the pockets have also been reported. Temporary supports are only provided now to avoid any accident and the devotees are not allowed to enter the ‘Jagamohana’ premises from safety point of view, thereby depriving them from having a close ‘darshana’ of deities. These temporary support systems were further strengthened during the visit of Prime Minister to Puri on February 7 this year as a safety measure,” he pointed out.