Odishatv Bureau

Konark: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the development and beautification project of the world-famous Konark Sun Temple undertaken by the Indian Oil Foundation (IOF), a non-profit trust of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) on the ocassion of Utkal Dibasa on Sunday.

Odisha has completed 82 years of its formation on linguistic basis after a long struggle. However, the history of the State dates much back than 1936.

Speaking on the occassion Pradhan said, "UNESCO has recognized Konark as world heritage site. It is not just a ruined structure or a temple, this a scientific centre developed by humans some 700 years back."

Though the foundation of the project was laid much back, it was earlier delayed due to various administrative reasons.

But with the support of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State Government and the locals, IOCL and Engineers India Limited (EIL) were able to complete the project, Pradhan said.

The Union Minister also proposed for setting up of an international stone sculpture training institute in Konark which will be discussed with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in subsequent phase.

"The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar last year and he was moved by the intricate stone carvings here. Recognising the talent, the Prime Minister has duly awarded the sculptors of Odisha," said Pradhan.

Further the Union Minister urged the State Government to expedite the construction of the proposed 452-km long coastal highway project from Gopalpur in Odisha to Digha in West Bengal.
Official sources said that Sun Temple's beautification project has been undertaken at an estimate expenditure of Rs 45 crore.

The project includes a bus terminus with parking capacity of 60 buses, a car parking for 110 vehicles, an independent facility of two-three wheelers parking and pathway.

On the other hand, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan targeted the BJP for the delay in the peripheral development and beautification project of the Konark Temple.

"The then Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily under the UPA government had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2013," said Harichandan.
With 2019 elections round the corner, one can easily judge BJP's intention as it has now undertaken the project which was envisaged five years back.