Centre considering opening ASI office in Puri: Minister

Puri/Bhubaneswar: To ensure proper conservation of Sri Jagannath Temple, the Centre is considering appropriate action on Odisha government's proposal to open a unit office of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with adequate technical staff in Puri.
"We have received a letter from Odisha chief minister and we are considering taking action on it," Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch told reporters during a visit to the seaside pilgrim town.
Katoch, who visited the 12th century shrine and inspected the conservation work, held discussions with senior officials on the matter and emphasised proper measures for the maintenance of the temple.
Asked about absence of any technical expert or official in ASI in Puri of ASI, which is entrusted with the task of maintenance of Sri Jagannath Temple, the minister said appropriate measures were being considered.
The union minister's statement came barely ten days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to her seeking opening of a support office of ASI in Puri.
"I request you to kindly intervene and consider the proposal for immediate opening of a unit office of ASI in Puri with adequate technical and administrative staff; ensuring structural safety of the shrine (including subsidiary ones)," Patnaik had said in his letter to Katoch.
The union minister also visited the Sun Temple at Konark and discussed issues relating to its conservation with S K Bansal, DGM of Indian Oil Fooundation, which is spending Rs 32 crore for development and beautification of the monument and its surroundings.
Katoch also held discussions regarding conservation of the Sun Temple with ASI officials.
Activists of Konark Suraksha Samiti (KSS) submitted a memorandum to the minister seeking concrete steps for proper maintenance of the Sun Temple.