Jagamohan repair: Mixed reaction to core panel chief’s resignation

Bhubaneswar: The sudden resignation of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) technical core committee chairman GC Mitra, who was looking after the repair work of Jagamohan, the chamber facing the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri, has evoked mixed reaction in political circles in the State.

While BJP and Congress criticised the DG of the ASI for rejecting the estimate and plan for the repair of Jagamohan prepared by the core committee, the ruling party lambasted the ASI for the delay in the repair work while citing the Chief Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister.

Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said, “I condemn the delay in the repair work of Jagamohan. They (ASI) is not giving much importance to it despite the Prime Minister’s intervention. I would demand the Director General of the ASI should come to Puri and monitor the repair work.”

Speaking on similar lines, Narasingh Mishra, Leader of Opposition, said, “The ASI is not cooperating in the repair work of the temple within the deadline. The resignation of Mitra is unfortunate. He is not only a knowledgeable person but also has experience.”

Mishra further stated, “The Chief Minister should not be content after writing a letter to the Prime Minister. He should discuss the matter with the Prime Minister and find a solution.”

Pratap Deb, BJD spokesperson, said, “The Chief Minister has written a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister saying that the dilly-dallying of the ASI is hurting the sentiments of Odia people and Jagannath cult lovers. Repeatedly the ASI is taking up work and not finishing on time.”

Meanwhile, in a press briefing here this evening, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan said he has requested GC Mishra to withdraw his resignation.

He also criticised the chief minister for not taking up the matter seriously.

“The chief minister instead of writing letters to the Centre on this issue, should have an across-the-table discussion with the Centre and the Prime Minister to ensure that the ongoing repair work of Jagmohan should be taken up on a mission mode,” he added.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union minister, said, “It is true that the ASI was neglecting the State. However, for the conservation of the temples of the State definitely, I will talk to the ASI.”

Notably, a high level meeting of the ASI held on May 5 in Delhi had disapproved the core committee’s estimate of an expenditure of Rs 2.5 crore towards purchase of stainless steel to be used in the repair work.

Besides, a decision was taken at the meeting to form another committee led by the ASI joint DG to reinspect the Jagamohan.