Jagmohan repair: CM urges PM to ask ASI to reconsider decision

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his urgent intervention to save the decrepit Jagmohan, the hall facing the sanctum sanctorum of the 12th century Lord Jagannath shrine in Puri.

In his letter, Patnaik urged Modi to instruct the Director General (DG) of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to reconsider its decision to disapprove the proposal sent by the core committee for the repair of Jagamohana.

“The Director General, ASI may be instructed to reconsider the proposal and come up with a concrete solution as early as possible in the interest of the safety of the holy shrine,” the Chief Minister said while giving an undertaking that the Odisha government would bar the entire cost of the repair work.

Disapproving the ASI decision, Patnaik said; “We are highly concerned about such indifferent attitude of ASI as any further delay in addressing the problem may lead to a serious situation,” Patnaik said reminding the Prime Minister that a similar situation had occurred in the case of the Sun Temple leading to the collapse of its Jagamohana, which necessitated filling up of the structure with sand and preventing the entry of visitors.

Earlier in the day, Law minister Arun Kumar Sahoo chaired a high-level meeting, which decided to seek the opinion of ASI on the proposal of the core committee, which had suggested to install a stainless steel structure inside the temple.

The Friday meeting was necessitated after ASI’s director general rejected the estimate for repair made by the core committee and formed a panel led by the joint DG of ASI to re-inspect the condition of Jagmohaan and make a fresh plan and estimate.

The DG had also opposed the State government’s move for installing a steel frame inside Jagmohana.

The core committee had estimated an expenditure of Rs 2.5 crore towards purchase of stainless steel to be used in the repair work.

Sources said the committee led by the ASI joint DG will inspect the cracked area of the Jagmohana again with the help of an expert from IIT, Madras. The ASI will search for an alternative to steel, sources said.