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Subsurface mapping of temple precincts planned

G. Anand
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CESS may use new technology for detailed micro-level map

The State police have identified the “total lack of data” on the underground structures and features within the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple precincts and its heritage neighbourhood as one of the biggest threats to the landmark structure and its famed ancient treasures.

The chance discovery of an underground stairway near the temple last week has reportedly lent impetus to a State government proposal to enlist the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) here to map the hitherto unknown and ancient subsurface features of the heritage locality.

According to police officers, CESS has proposed the use of modern technology to generate a detailed micro-level map of the myriad geophysical and manmade features believed to lie hidden beneath the temple area.

CESS will rely on satellite imagery, existing maps, whatever historical information its experts could glean to generate an accurate three-dimensional subsurface picture of the temple locality.

The map will reveal storm drains, sewers, piped water supply lines and power lines in the area. The CESS exploration is envisaged to be non-invasive and non-disruptive.

Six methodologies

The officers say CESS is likely to rely on six methodologies for mapping the area – micro magnetic survey, vertical electrical sounding, shallow seismic studies, VLF electro magnetic method, and ground penetrating radar.

CESS, if required, will rope in the services of the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, and the Central Mining Research Institute, Dhanbad, they say.

The State police have also proposed that an “electronic grid security system” with intrusion detection sensors be installed along all known storm drains, tunnels and other subterranean channels within the temple and in its proximity.

The system would be linked to the Command and Control Centre of the temple to detect intrusions, if any, through these subterranean routes.

In a bid to prevent possible low intensity sabotage attempts inside the temple, the police will soon deploy portable explosive vapour trace detectors that will enable temple security to detect miniscule quantities of even low-grade explosives.

A biometric identity card and attendance system is on cards for temple employees. Commandos in charge of the perimeter security of the temple will be issued portable X-ray scanners to check parked vehicles for arms and explosives

Soon, the temple will have its own exclusive anti-sabotage wing equipped with modern letter and parcel bomb detectors, bomb blast inhibitors, bomb suppression blankets, and a state-of-the-art remote-controlled robot to defuse bombs.

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