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NEW DELHI: Cracks that have developed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple at Puri in Odisha have caught the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office.The Puri shrine is one of the four most sacred Hindu shrines. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik had written to the Centre in March 2016 seeking immediate intervention after cracks were noticed in some columns and stone beams.

With the PMO closely tracking it, the work to repair the cracks and ascertain the structural stability of the temple has the culture ministry on its toes.

Every week officials from the Archeological Survey of India and the ministry visit Puri to discuss ways of addressing the damaged areas of the shrine, not only with the temple authorities but also with the Maharaja of Puri, Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singha Deb.

Plans are also afoot to repair the smaller structures in the Puri temple complex. While the Sri Jagannath Temple Association says enough is not being done, the ASI claims that it is not given enough time in the temple to conduct the repair work.

Now, with annual Rath Yatra having commenced on July 6, the Jagamohan – the sanctum sanctorum – has been handed over to the ASI and technical experts from IIT-Madras to conduct studies to decide on the repair programme. The Rath Yatra will go on until July 14.

ASI director-general Rakesh Tiwari told ET that all efforts were being made to repair the cracks.