Floodlights installed at the Five Rathas site and the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram, to enable tourists to view the heritage structures after sunset, have not been functioning for a while now.
Staff working at the site said that the visiting hours end at 6 p.m. and hence the lights were installed so that tourists, especially foreigners who visit late can view the structures. “The lights were put up by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) to promote tourism at the World Heritage site a few years ago. However, there was no agreement between the TTDC and the Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle on their maintenance including payment of electricity bills,” said K. Amarnath Ramakrishna, superintendent archaeologist, ASI (Chennai Circle).
Mr. Ramakrishna said the lights were switched off due to rising electricity bills and have remained non-functional since. They would likely remain unused till an agreement was signed between the two government agencies, he said.
TTDC officials could not be reached for comments.
Workers at the Five Rathas site also demanded that the ticket counter, which is situated about 200 metres away be shifted just outside the entrance of the site.
“Visitors come to the entrance and then find that the ticket counter is situated far away. It causes inconvenience to them. Also, it is illogical to have the ticket counter so far away when a counter is situated right outside the Shore Temple,” a worker said.
Mr. Ramakrishna said the ASI would look into the issue. “However, once the e-ticketing system is introduced, such problems will be solved,” he said.
Staff seek regularisation
Meanwhile, about 10 Non-Mazdoor (temporary) staff working for the ASI in and around Mahabalipuram sought regularisation of employment as many of them have completed over 15 years of service.
These workers are employed at Vayalur, Sadras, Kalathur, Thiruvidanthai and Mahabalipuram. They complained that they were given work only for six months every year as working round-the-year would force the ASI to make them permanent staff.