Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, May 15:
The 12th century Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri will meet the same fate as that of Konark temple if timely remedial measures are not taken, cautioned Prof G C Mitra, who yesterday resigned as the chairman of the technical core committee of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) overseeing repair and conservation of the Jagamohana (prayer hall adjacent to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple).
“Jagamohana is in distressed condition. Its repair is most urgent. Otherwise, nobody knows when disaster will strike. Delayed repair may result in the Konark-like situation. Four columns of Konark temple had collapsed and in order to save its ceiling from collapsing it had to be filled with sand and stones,” said Mitra speaking to reporters today.
Mitra said: “Stones have got dislodged from four columns of the Jagamohana. Several cracks have appeared in the columns and beams. Accidents always happen without notice, it happens all of a sudden.”
“Do we stay in a house in which the columns and beams holding the ceiling have cracks? Then how do we expect our revered Lord Jagannath to reside in it (Sri Mandir)?” asked Mitra.
Sources said Mitra on Saturday resigned from the chairmanship of the technical core committee and forwarded his resignation letter to Superintendent Archaeologist, Bhubaneswar, and Director General (DG), ASI.
“This is an internal business between the core committee and the ASI. I would not like to comment on it. This is a personal matter and very trivial as compared to the seriousness of the distressed condition of the Jagamohana,” stated Mitra declining to comment on his resignation affair.
Recently, the ASI DG at a high-level meeting in New Delhi had disapproved of the recommendations and estimates prepared by the technical core committee for the repair and conservation of the Jagamohana and had constituted a committee headed by the joint DG of the ASI to examine if there was any alternative to the use of stainless steel. The committee would have consulted with experts of IIT Madras on this account. The DG ASI is further learnt to have suggested for a reconstitution of the technical core committee.
Sources said Mitra had tendered his resignation on this account.
Notably, the ASI had constituted the technical core committee with Prof A P Gupta of IIT Kharagpur as its head in 2006. In the absence of Gupta, Mitra used to play an important role in the repair of the Jagamohana.
Both the state government and sevayats (servitors) of the Sri Mandir have expressed severe displeasure over the ASI disapproving the use of stainless steel bracket/frame in the conservation of the Jagamohana as recommended by the core committee. While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his express intervention in the matter, on Saturday sevayats at a meeting chaired by chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra have decided that a delegation of sevayats would meet Prime Minister Modi in this regard and appraise him of the situation and seek his intervention in the matter.