The State is likely to get financial assistance of Rs 65 cr as per the recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC) for preservation of 328 ancient and Buddhist heritage sites.
Official sources said maintenance and repair of 295 of these historic places of importance will be taken up by the State Culture department. The State Government has made a budgetary provision of `53 cr for it for 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years.
Advance allocation of `4.5 cr was made for the purpose of which `1.07 cr has been utilised. Out of 295 sites, preservation and maintenance of 26 sites have been handed over to Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). An estimate of `8.2 cr has been made for it.
Besides, repair and maintenance of 33 Buddhist sites in the State have been taken up from 2012-13 by the Odisha Institute of Maritime and South-East Asian Studies (OMSEAS). The project will continue till 2013-14. A budget proposal of `12 cr has been made for it. An advance allocation of `64.72 lakh has been made for the project, of which `58.75 lakh has already been utilised.
In a written reply to a question from Ashok Panda in the Assembly, Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty said out of these 295 ancient heritage sites, 16 are in Ekamra Assembly constituency. Of these 16 sites, seven are protected. As per the recommendations of the TFC, financial assistance of `3.64 cr will be provided for the preservation of these sites in Ekamra constituency. Of this, `80.4 lakh has already been released and `27.34 lakh has been utilised, the Minister said.