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Dhauli ‘Shanti Stupa’ Losing Sheen Sans Maintenance

Bhubaneswar: The natural beauty of ‘Shanti Stupa’ at Dhauli, popularly known as the ‘Peace Pagoda’, which attracts thousands of tourists from various places of State and outside, has been fading gradually in absence of proper maintenance. Thanks to official apathy, the sorry state of affair of the famous historical relic of King Ashoka has become a cause of resentment for the visitors.

Locals allege that cracks have developed in many places of the monument and the ever illuminating pristine while colour on the gigantic site is diminishing by the day.

Irregular maintenance has pushed the famous construction to such a condition that tourists hesitate to visit the place now-a-days, locals alleged while demanding immediate attention of Tourism Department to mend the cracks and carry our peripheral beautification programme to restore its grandeur.

“There is lack of coordination among the officials, which is wholly responsible for such condition of the famous heritage. A comprehensive repair work should be taken up as early as possible before tourism sector throws it open completely for visitors. The Tourism Department should take the matter seriously”, a local said.

“As far as our knowledge is concerned, the district administration is planning to convene a meeting to prepare a plan for the monument,” said Hrusikesh Sahoo, a social activist.

The ‘Shanti Stupa’, which stands as a silent spectator of Kalinga war and reign of king Kharavela, was built in 1972. Its dilapidated condition has forced ‘Kalinga Nipan Budhha Sanga–a local socio cultural organisation working for the development of Dhauli- has come forward for its preservation. The organisation has also started fund raising for its repairing.

The outfit alleged that a committee which was constituted in 2002 with Khurdha Collector as its head to look after the peace pagoda and its periphery area seems to be inactive since its formation.

“The Dhauli Development Committee is earning crores of rupees every year through toll taxes, but has done precious little for its maintenance. The Kalinga Nipan Sangha has come forward to do its repair work on its own”, said Rabi Maharana, convenor of Kalinga Niapan Buddha Sangha.

Recently, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi visited the site and expressed concern over its current condition. She also assured to take measures for its preservation.

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