BHUBANESWAR: Even as it has been over four years that the Government has been talking about removing encroachments around temples in Old Town area to prevent water-logging on their premises during monsoon, it has remained a mere lip service.
Like the last three years, the conservators have to use water pumps to prevent water-logging in temples and subsequent damage to the structures this year too. During the recent rain, water-logging was noticed in temples like Vaitaal, Megheswar and Parshurameswar.
Encroachments around these temples in the form of concrete structures have blocked the rainwater outlets in the shrines. As a result, water accumulates on the premises even after normal rainfall. Although the encroachments are in violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, officials remain mute spectators. The Act prohibits construction of houses in such close proximity to a conserved monument.
In June 2011, senior officials of the Culture Department, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State Archaeology wing, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Council (BMC) visited these temples and decided to undertake a survey to find out the extent of encroachments and clear the drainage channels as a long-term solution to the problem.
Besides water-logging, the team members had found that these structures were facing problems like water seepage, structural damage and corrosion. But little has been done till now except installation of the pump sets. Cleaning and renovation of drainage channels of the temples too have remained a non-starter.
Officials said even as all the three temples are under care of ASI, the latter does not have authority to remove the encroachments.
Sources in the ASI said pump sets have already been installed in the three temples by engineers to drain out rain water. “We have approached other line departments to clear the drainage outlets as well,” a higher official added.