New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India has suggested a change in the course of River Mandakini to protect the Kedarnath Temple as the river bed has become higher than the village area.
The ASI has been given the responsibility of restoring the Kedarnath Temple post the devastation caused by the June floods in Uttarakhand but the adverse climatic condition is delaying their job.
"Our report says the river bed has become higher than the village area in Kedarnath. We have been suggesting that either they change the course of the river so it should not affect the temple in future," Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch told a news agency.
Declining to set a timeframe for the restoration work, she said the offside work can begin only next year due to adverse weather conditions.
"GSI has given a report and it is our feeling also that if we do not know the actual condition of the foundation, we cannot start working offsite. So, we have started restoration work from inside like cleaning up and improving the condition of the temple," she said.
"There is no timeframe because of weather and everything will be closed in the next two weeks during winter and the work will resume next year only," she said.
The ASI has to be sure that the foundation of the temple is not fragile before starting any heavy work.
"We don`t know if the foundation is fragile as too much water has rushed there. We have to be sure that it is not fragile before we start any sort of heavy work. We have to wait for GSI report for that," she said.
"ASI has to be very careful in this case. We can use only manual power there and that too with utmost care. The responsibility of removing the debris is on Uttrakhand government and we have advised that no machinery should be used and it should be done manually," said the Minister.
When asked about the budget for restoration, she said that it will be allotted after submission of a proper report.
"Initial budget is of Rs 2 crore but rest will come after we give a proper report," the minister said.
Asked about the possibility of removing the boulder that saved the Kedarnath Temple on that fateful day, she said the rock will remain there.
"There is no doubt that the boulder saved the temple to a major extent. We want it to be there because removing it means blasting the rock which will have an adverse affect on the fragile condition of the temple. It would be better to leave it as it is," she said.