Orissa HC Amicus curiae calls for experts' debate on Konark Temple's Jagamohan

The report submitted by NK Mohanty stated that there was need for a debate involving experts from UNESCO, CBRI and ASI.
Sun Temple, Konark (File Photo |EPS)
Sun Temple, Konark (File Photo |EPS)

CUTTACK:  Orissa High Court appointed amicus curiae NK Mohanty has underlined the need for a debate on filling the Jagamohan of the Sun Temple at Konark with sand before adopting it as a conservation measure to ensure structural stability of the 13th century monument.

The report submitted by Mohanty to the court on Monday stated that there was need for a debate involving experts from UNESCO, Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). “After the debate, final decision may be taken,” Mohanty said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Cuttack-based lawyer Dilip Mohapatra seeking intervention for proper protection of the Sun Temple. The petition first filed in 2016 had been languishing till it came up on November 27 last year. Mohapatra had then filed an interim petition alleging that the situation at the Konark Temple is alarming and requires urgent repair and renovation to preserve the monument in its present state.

ASI had filed an affidavit in response to the interim petition indicating that there was need for conservation of the temple by filling sand inside Jagamohan, strengthening of projected roof stones, making quantitative assessment of chemical conservation work, re-conducting laser scanning and improving drainage system.

The CBRI, Roorkee, which was engaged for detailed structural investigation of the monument, had recommended for sand filling, the ASI had stated in the affidavit.

Amicus curiae calls for experts’ debate

Taking note of it, the high court had appointed advocate NK Mohanty as amicus curiae on July 22 to assess ASI’s action plan for conservation of the Konark Temple and the progress made so far. In his report, the amicus curiae suggested “to carry out additional studies to determine the properties of soil and ascertain the geometry and materials of foundation of Jagamohan of the Sun Temple”. He also suggested examining the levels at different points “for determination of subsidence if any”.

Recommending assessment of the quality of stone of core wall, Mohanty said, “This would be done by examining stones on the campus on representative basis and by extricating core of about 25 mm diameter.” 

He further suggested increasing the periodicity of chemical cleaning for preservation of the temple and making the structure water tight by systematically sealing the cracks and joints. While taking note of the amicus curiae’s report, the division bench of Chief Justice KS Jhaveri and Justice KR Mohapatra directed ASI to file its reply by way of an affidavit by December 16, the date fixed for next hearing on the case.

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