With an amount of Rs 65 crore obtained from the 13th Finance Commission, the Orissa government is all set to prepare a master plan for protection and conservation of archaeological monuments and sites in the State.

This was decided at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik yesterday. “A project cell will be constituted to monitor and guide conservation activities,” said Mr. Patnaik.

Experts in archaeology and skilled persons would be taken as members in the project cell, he said adding persons engaged in conservation activities needed to be trained in the techniques of protecting the age-old monuments and sites.

While 78 heritage sites and monuments located in different places of the state were under conservation of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), 218 of such places were being protected by the State Archeology wing under culture department.

At least 2,706 monuments and heritage sites were being either protected by INTACH or private organisations, sources said adding that the funds obtained from the 13th Finance Commission would be spent on conservation activities.

In an attempt to ensure that important monuments like the Sun Temple at Konark, Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri and Sri Lingaraj Temple here, were given priority in conservation, the state government had identified such places, said culture minister Debi Prasad Mishra.