ASI seeks apology for damages to lion idols of Puri Srimandir

Puri: After Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb expressed displeasure over damages to the lion idols on Puri Srimandir because of the scaffoldings put up by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on the temple, Superintending archaeologist of ASI on Tuesday sought an apology.

Speaking to media persons after the managing committee meeting of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), chief administrator Pradipta Kumar Mohaptra said, “Damages caused by Cyclone Fani to the Srimandir and Gundicha temple was the main topic of the discussion. Because of negligence by ASI, the scaffolding fell down causing damage to idols. The Superintending Archaeologist has begged an apology.”

Earlier, the Puri King had held the ASI responsible for the damages to the lion idols of the main temple. He had stated that as the iron scaffoldings were not removed prior to Cyclone Fani, the idols were damaged.

Besides, the temple managing committee decided to permit the ASI to take photographs of the ‘Nilachakra’ by drone cameras.

“Amid media reports of damages to the Nilachakra, we have decided to review the situation, so the ASI has been asked to take photographs using drone cameras. The photographs taken by drones will be used for technical rectification of the Nilachakra,” Mohapatra added.

The managing committee also decided to issue identity cards for the ASI staff like the ones issued to temple employees. A decision was also taken to replace the idols of Jay-Vijaya at the Singhadwara.

Mohapatra added that the potters or kumbhakaras affected by Cyclone Fani will be given cash assistance of Rs 8,500 each.