Bhubaneswar: Reiterating his claim that the Sun Temple in Odisha’s Konark is in a good state of preservation, Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma today said there is no threat for the structural stability of the World Heritage monument.
To prove his claim, the Union Minister also said that a committee will be formed soon to seek expert report/opinion into the allegations over preservation of the Sun Temple raised by the Odisha government.
“There is no threat to Konark Temple’s safety. The strength of safety as per the Newton index is 469 while this monument is 2323. It means the strength of safety factor is 5 times more. As per the MPA the level ought to be 1.4, Konark Temple’s is 8. It means approximately 6 times more safety factor,” Shamra told reporters after attending a high-level meeting held at State Guest House here this afternoon.
He said that the union government is committed to the preservation and conservation of Konark temple and all other heritage sites of Odisha.
Further dismissing the media reports that original stone carvings at Sun Temple were removed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and replaced with plain stones, the Minister said: “Not even a single piece of stone has been removed” from the temple structure”.
He added: “After 1997, not a single plain stone has been fixed there. ASI looks after the conservation of 3686 monuments. Out of these, 22 are UNESCO heritage sites. No change can be made in UNESCO site. Hence, there is no possibility of plain stones.”
However, the Minister said a committee, comprising international experts will be formed and it will submit its expert report within a month. “We will inform the State government about the actions, if any, to be taken,” he added.
In another decision, the Union Minister informed that no fee will be collected for the Naba Graha worship at the temple and entry fee is applicable only for the monument seeing.
Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, who also attended the meeting, said: “ The Union Minister has agreed to look into various issues raised regarding the preservation of the Konark Sun Temple with the help of international experts.”
Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, 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.
The temple represents a chariot of Sun God and is one of the world heritage sites declared by UNESCO.