Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday urged the central government to direct the ASI to send its best experts for repairing the hall facing the sanctum sanctorum of Shri Jagannath temple.
The ancient temple in Puri district is one of the holiest shrines in Odisha and draws devotees from across the country.
In a letter to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Patnaik said the "Jagamohan" (the hall facing the sanctum sanctorum) of Shri Jagannath Temple has developed several cracks.
"After the inner surface of Jagamohan was deplastered, it was noticed that the four column capitals and the eight stone beams have serious cracks which might affect its structural stability, " said the chief minister.
He said a core committee comprising structural engineers, representatives of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), had been formed to suggest remedial measures.
The committee inspected the structure on February 7 and recommended that the beams be immediately provided additional support in order to prevent further damage to the Jagamohan, Patnaik noted.
"Since this is a matter of urgent public importance, I seek your personal intervention to direct the ASI to send their best technical experts in the matter and proceed to take up repair and restoration works at the earliest, " said the chief minister.
Notably, a stone column capital on which the Jagamohan's ceiling rests has developed a crack and a stone block is hanging out of it dangerously, posing the risk of a major accident.