The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has apologised to the Jagannath Temple administration for the damage caused to its lion statues during cyclone Fani, an official said.
The apology came after the Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, Dibyasingha Deb, expressed displeasure over the damage to the statues of the temple in Puri town.
The iron scaffolding, put up by the ASI around the temple for renovation, fell on the lion statues when Fani hit coastal Odisha on May 3. There were allegations that the scaffolding fell due to the ASI's negligence, officials said.
"The issues relating to damages caused to the Jagannath Temple and the Gundicha Temple were discussed at the temple management committee's meeting that was chaired by Deb, the king of Puri," P K Mohaptra, the chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, said.
"The superintending archaeologist has begged apology," Mohapatra said.
In the meeting on Tuesday, Mohapatra said the temple management committee had also decided to allow the ASI to take photographs of the 'nilachakra' (the wheel atop the temple) by using drones.
"Keeping in view safety of the 'nilachakra', we have decided to review the situation," he said "The ASI is allowed to take photographs using drone cameras. The photographs taken by drones will be used for technical rectification of the 'nilachakra'."
Mohapatra said the managing committee also asked the ASI to replace the statues of 'Jay-Vijaya' at the Singhadwara (the main gate) of the temple.
Potters, who supply clay pots to the temple, have been severely affected by the cyclone and the management committee has decided to give financial assistance of Rs 8,500 to each family from the temple fund, Mohapatra added.
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