Vikash Sharma

New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar: Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma today categorically denied any negligence during preservation work of Konark Sun Temple.

In a letter, Sharma further asserted that the issues raised by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over negligence in preservation of the world heritage site are not justified.

“Some restoration of original features has been done wherever enough evidence of original existence was available. The statement of replacement of 40 percent of original carvings is not true as nowhere such action has been taken. All the works have been taken up as per ASI conservation manual and other prevalent conservation charters and guidelines,” wrote Sharma in his letter to Odisha CM.

Sharma further stated that adequate care has also been taken to control the environs of the monument thereby reducing the impact of salt laden winds as well as sand particles on the temple surfaces.

Earlier on November 9, based on a news report published in a vernacular daily on replacement of original stone carvings by ASI, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, on November 11 had written to Union Culture Minister seeking his intervention in the matter.

The Chief Minster had raised concerns about Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) work on replacing artistic stone carvings of Konark temple with plain stones.

"Due to continuous care, conservation and maintenance work by the ASI, the Sun Temple in Konark is in a good state of preservation and the issues raised are not justified," clarified the Union Minister today.

(With inputs from IANS