Acute shortage of artisans (‘shilpis’) has affected the construction of Rajagopuram of Kanaka Durga temple on Indrakeeladri. It was to be completed by March 2013. Due to shortage of skilled hands, the date was extended by three months. The temple authorities could still not stick to the schedule.

Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam has been on the lookout for skilled ‘silpis’ for more than two years now. The works did not progress well even though the temple authorities deployed skilled labourers from Anaparthy and Peddapuram. Temple officials, now, have roped in skilled labourers from Tamil Nadu.

Temple officials agree that there is an inordinate delay in execution of the works. At least 15 of them are required but only four to five are available at any given point of time. Currently four masters and a helper are working. “We are trying to rope in 15 more silpis in a couple of days to complete the work at the earliest,” said an official.

The Devasthanam has been facing various problems ever since the Rajagopuram works began, from technical scrutiny to proposals of restricting height of the Rajagopuram to design changes. Later, sand scarcity hindered the construction.

The contractors too were ready to make extra payments but skilled labourers were not available. The Endowments Department asked the temple authorities to ‘restrict’ the height of Rajagopuram to 55ft against the originally planned 88 ft.

The project cost is pegged at Rs 9.60 crore. It was supposed to be completed by 2011. Former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had laid the foundation stone for it way back in 2008.

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