Statue At Konark Sun Temple Damaged Due To ASI’s Negligence!

Bhubaneswar: A statue at the Sun Temple in Konark was reportedly damaged while removing the scaffolding on its eastern side due to alleged negligence of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

This came to the fore at the two-day workshop at Konark, which began on Friday.

The ASI had recently posted pictures of the 13th century shrine after the entire scaffolding around the temple was removed.

“The knee of five-feet Maithuna Couple has been damaged and a large portion chipped off. The chipped off piece could have be easily re-fixed, but due to the negligence of the ASI, the piece has not been kept. The damage is clearly visible from the ground level,” said General Secretary of the Konark Surakhya Samiti Anil Dhir.

On May 21, 2019, the ASI had apologised to the Jagannath Temple administration for the damage caused to its lion statues during cyclone Fani. In that instance too, the iron scaffolding, put up by the ASI around the temple had fallen on the lion statues when the cyclone hit Odisha. There were allegations that the scaffolding fell due to the ASI’s negligence.

Dhir said that the ASI and Government of Odisha should involve local stakeholders when deciding the conservation and restoration plans.

In December 2019, the then Union Culture Minister, Mahesh Sharma had categorically stated that there was absolutely ‘no threat’ to the world heritage structure in Odisha. At the high-level meeting held in Bhubaneswar on December 10. the expert from the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee too had certified that there was no threat to Konark Sun Temple. “The Konark Temple’s world cultural heritage status certainly demands that the structure be given immediate attention,” he added.

In February, Twitter users had gone berserk accusing the ASI of poor restoration work. The ASI had then dubbed the tweets regarding replacement of sculptures with plain stones at Sun Temple as false and misleading.

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