The Kedarnath temple committee has expressed dissatisfaction over the restoration work being carried out by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the shrine which was damaged in last year’s flash floods in Uttarakhand, but the government agency has squarely rejected the criticism.
Ganesh Godiyal, president of Badri Kedar Temple Committee, has said that the ASI should adopt a “transparent and efficient” approach and make “good use of government money”.
“I asked ASI about the claim it has made about spending Rs 35 lakh on restoration work so far. I got a reply from its Dehradun circle mentioning a list of 18 to 20 items on which the expenditure was incurred. They have also taken credit for cleaning the temple premises, which is false. The cleaning work was done by the temple committee,” Mr. Godiyal told PTI.
“We are not satisfied with the way ASI has worked. They have just installed the temple door which is also not of good quality. I have forwarded their reply to temple officer Anil Sharma to verify their claims. After his report, we will decide on our future course of action,” he said.
ASI was handed the responsibility of restoring the temple which was badly affected by the devastating floods and landslides last June in Uttarakhand in which over 5,700 people were presumed dead by the state government.
But the temple committee is not satisfied with the way ASI has worked. According to Mr. Godiyal, the committee does not want to create any controversy but expects ASI to be transparent and efficient in its work.
“We don’t want to create an issue out of it. We just want ASI to work transparently and with more efficiency. They should make good use of government money. What have they done in last one year?” he asked.
“They have not even started work to rebuild Ishaan temple which was washed away in the floods. Re-installation of the stones, which were dislodged, is also pending. They have done nothing to solve the problem of water leakage from the roof of the temple. The problem persists during rains,” he said.
However, dismissing Mr. Godiyal’s allegations, Atul Bhargava, superintendent archaeologist of ASI’s Dehradun circle said, “We got only one month for the work so far. In that time we have installed the door and cleared the platform. Apart from that, our team did scientific cleaning some 8ft to 9ft inside the temple. After that, the doors of the temple were closed.
“We have resumed work from June 6 and are cleaning the remaining portion of the temple’s interior. We have also started carving on dislodged stones from the eastern side. The Ishaan temple is not our responsibility as it was completely washed away in the flood. I don’t understand the reason for their dissatisfaction.”