Special Correspondent

The State Tourism Department has assured to fund the project

Thanjavur Municipality yet to hand over the moat to the Archaeological Survey of India

ASI proposal includes filling up of moat with water and introduction of boat service

THANJAVUR: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains the Big Temple here, has submitted a Rs.1-crore proposal to the State Government to improve the moat around the temple.

The State Tourism Department has assured to fund the project.

But there seems to be a hitch in taking up the project as the Thanjavur Municipality, to which the moat area belongs, has not handed it over to the ASI.

Though a resolution was passed in a council meeting recently to hand over the moat to ASI, the moat has not yet been handed over, ASI sources said.

Initially, the Municipality had demanded some compensation from the ASI, but later offered to give it free.

Accordingly, it was decided to give the moat area on lease for 30 years.

Moat given on lease to ASI at Vellore

In Vellore also, the moat area was given under lease to ASI.

“We don’t know why the Municipality has not handed over the property to us. We are ready to renovate the moat and introduce boat service,” sources said.

The development work planned by ASI include desilting, renovation of the moat wall and filling it up with water. The moat area behind the temple has been encroached upon and they have to be removed.

Water sources were available on the western side of the moat and it could be filled with water.

“Water cannot be filled from Grand Anaicut canal as the canal is lower than the moat,” sources explained.

Tourist attraction

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. Being one of UNESCO’s world heritage monuments, the temple is an architectural marvel. “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,” observe some senior citizens of Thanjavur.

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