**Bhubaneswar: ** Amid the hue and cry over Konark Sun Temple’s safety and security, Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism Mahesh Sharma today assured that there is no threat to this world renowned monument as well as UNESCO heritage site.
Sharma told media soon after a high-level meeting on the famous temple with Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda and other officials here at the State Secretariat.
In his media reactions, the Union Minister said, “There is no threat to Konark Temple’s safety. The strength of safety as per the Newton index is 469 while this monument is 2323. It means the strength of safety factor is 5 times more. As per the MPA the level ought to be 1.4, Konark Temple’s is 8. It means approximately 6 times more safety factor.”
He informed, “Five issues relating to Konark Temple were raised today. First was water-logging problem there. It is particulary at a season because the temple’s level has gone down that of the outer side. Since it is an ancient monument, it can’t be raised up. The outer level can’t be downed. A pit will be made at a corner. The water will be pumped out. Within three months we will be taking the action.”
Also informed, “Another issue was raised that original carved stones have been replaced with plain stones. After 1997, not a single plain stone has been fixed there. ASI looks after the conservation of 3686 monuments. Out of these 22 are UNESCO heritage sites. No change can be made in UNESCO site. Hence, there is no possibility of plain stones.”
The Union Minister further made it clear, “There is no entry fee levied for Nabagraha worship. But for the monument, there is no exemption, no free entry as it is a threat to the monument. However, a committee will be formed on it and it will submit its expert report within a month. Also decision will be made on the plantation that checks sea wind.”
He also clarified, “Today a suggestion had come for employing an international agency for Konark Temple’s conservation. It is welcome, but today ASI is delivering its service in five nations. Most visited temple in the world is Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Its conservation is being done by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is pride for us. ASI is 157 years old.”
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