No threat to structural stability of Konark Sun Temple: Union Culture Minister

Bhubaneswar: The Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Maheshwar Sharma today reiterated that there is absolutely ‘no threat’ to the structural stability of the Sun Temple at Konark which is one of the prominent world heritage sites.

After attending a high-level meeting with senior officials of Odisha government, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other stakeholders held at Bhubaneswar today, Sharma informed that as per the report of the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, there is no threat to the Konark Sun Temple.

“Several technical aspects were discussed at the meeting and it was ascertained that load-taking capacity of the existing walls of the structure is 2,323 against the required score of 469 which is almost five times higher. Similarly, the safety factor is also almost six times high,” said Sharma.

Commenting on Odisha’s concern that stone carvings are replaced with plain stones by ASI, the Union Minister categorically ruled out that no plain stones have been used in The Sun Temple since 1997.

Earlier, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, while citing a news report by a vernacular daily, had sought Centre’s clarification on allegations of replacement of artistic stone carvings of Konark Temple with plain stones. The Union Minister today clarified that the ASI is the premier agency of the country and as Konark Sun Temple is an ancient monument, it cannot adopt any modifications. On the issue of scaffoldings, an expert committee will take a final decision within a month, he added.

Several other issues including waterlogging at the Sun Temple were discussed at the meeting today.

“Keeping in view the concerns, an expert committee will be formed to take up work based on the recommendations of CBRI,” said Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister, Ashok Panda.