Amid widespread apprehension over the safety of world famous Sun Temple at Konark, an ambitious Rs. 41 crore project was unveiled today for peripheral development and beautification around the architectural marvel to attract more tourists.
Indian Oil Foundation (IOF), a non-profit trust of Indian Oil Corporation would spend Rs. 36 crore for peripheral development and Archaeological Survey of India would provide Rs. five crore for development of site museum at Konark.
Laying the foundation stone for the project, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister M Veerappa Moily said development of tourist facilities by IOF in collaboration with ASI and National Culture Fund of ministry of Culture would be completed within 18 months by February 2015.
“We will not meddle with its architectural structure. We will preserve, develop and protect it for the posterity”, Mr Moily said, adding that the endeavour would reach its desired completion with support of Odisha government and people.
Heaping kudos on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, seated next to him on the dais, Mr Moily said the state government under the “dynamic chief ministership” of Patnaik had extended all cooperation for projects undertaken by his ministry.
The proposed pipeline project passing through Odisha had already been delayed due to some problems in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. However, he expected that work would be expedited in Odisha, he said.
Stating that adoption of such projects by IOF, ASI and NCF was aimed at restoring and developing cultural heritage of the country, the minister said this would also boost tourism and generate revenue and means of employment.
Other places of heritage being taken for development included Khajuraho group of temples in Madhya Pradesh, Warangal Fort in Andhra Pradesh, Vaishali City in Bihar, Bhoganandishwara temple and Devanahali Fort in Karnataka and Daulatabad fort in Maharashtra.
Speaking at the function, Naveen Patnaik said a special conservation plan should be formulated for the golden triangle of Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark. (PTI)