HC Asks ASI To Finalise Puri Jagannath Temple Natamandap Repair Design By Oct 15

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to finalise the design for strengthening the cracked beam of Natamandap (dancing hall) of Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri by October 15.

The division bench of Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra and Justice Savitri Rath set the deadline after ASI counsel Chandrakanta Pradhan submitted that they are yet to receive the detailed structural designs of the two possible options from IIT Madras.

Superintending archaeologist, ASI (Puri Circle), Dibishada Brajasundar Garnayak, in his affidavit, had earlier said that the cracked stone beam can be strengthened with bonded steel plates or additional stainless-steel beams can be introduced to support it. The final strengthening option will be selected after IIT-Madras works out the detail structural design of these two options and presents it to the technical expert committee, he added.

“We expect to receive the designs soon,” Pradhan told the court on Monday.

The matter has been posted for October 19.

The ASI had started work on Natamandap after completion of repair and renovation work inside Jagamohan and Jay Bijay Dwar.

In his report, NK Mohanty, the Amicus Curiae appointed by the HC, had expressed concern over cracks on a beam in the Natamandap of the protected structure, which dates back to the 12th century. “The repair work inside the Natamandap is very important and catastrophe may happen at any time as the cracked structure (beam) is working as cantilever from both sides. In my opinion, ASI authority may attend this work on priority basis than submitting affidavit on routine manner.”

His report also mentioned about many distressed locations in the second pidha of Jagamohan — the sloping corbelled zones — mostly in the form of wide structural cracks, localised dislodgement of stone blocks and detached weak lime plasters, and extensive corrosion of the existing wrought-iron clamps.

Notably, the court has been monitoring conservation work at the 12th-century shrine since Abhisek Das, a resident of Cuttack, filed a PIL in 2016.

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