Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains the Big temple here, has submitted a proposal to state Government for improving the moat around the temple at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.

The state tourism department has assured the ASI to fund the project so that the ASI could take up the work and renovate the moat.

But there seems to be a hitch in taking up the project as Thanjavur Municipality had not handed over the area to ASI. Though a resolution has been passed in the council meeting recently to hand over the moat area to ASI, it is only on paper and real handing over the property has not taken place, the ASI sources here said.

Initially the Municipality has been demanding the ASI to pay some amount as compensation to hand over the moat under its control. Later it changed its mind and came forward to freely hand over the moat as ASI could renovate it.

Accordingly it has been decided to take the moat area on lease for some thirty years by the ASI from the Municipality.

"We don't know why the Municipality has not handed over the property to us. We are ready to renovate the moat and fill it with water and press into service boats for tourists to enjoy" the ASI sources here said.

Renovation of the moat around the temple assumes importance from cleanliness point of view, beautification and above all tourist attraction. The environment around the temple remains dirty though the temple is maintained well inside by the ASI.

The works planned in the proposal included, desilting and renovation of the moat wall. On the southern side, Grand Anaicut canal is running. But this canal is below the moat level. The moat area behind the temple is encroached upon and they have to be removed. Water sources are available on the western side of the moat and it can be filled with water. "Water cannot be filled from Grand Anaicut canal as the canal is lower than the moat" the ASI sources explained.

"This is the 1000th year of the construction of the temple. If the moat is renovated it will be appropriate at the time of celebration of the 1000th year before June, 2010" said senior citizens of Thanjavur.