Fearing damage, ASI says 'no' to lift near Bahubali statue

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has refused permission for installing a lift to the attic near the statue of Babubali in Sharavanabelagola on the ground that the work may damage the 57-foot monolithic statue.

Public Works Department executive engineer Nagaraj, speaking at a meeting to review the preparations for Mahamastakbhisheka, here on Friday, said that the National Institute of Rock Mechanics had certified that the lift work would not affect the statue.

"However, the ASI has refused permission. Instead, it has identified three alternative places for the lift. But, they are around 50 metre away from the statue. Hence, the authorities of the Jain mutt have raised an objection," he said.

Mahamastakabhisheka, held once in 12 years, is scheduled to be conducted from February 7 to 26.

Rakesh Singh, special officer for the Mahamastakabisheka, said that attempts would be made to convince the officials of ASI and if they do not agree, an alternative would be explored,

KSRTC divisional officer Yashwanth said, the ASI has issued a notice for construction of rooms for devotees on the first floor of the Shravanabelagola bus stand. He said that 175 buses and 60 mini buses would be plied for the convenience of the devotees during the event.

District in-charge Minister A Manju said, talks will be held with the Transport minister to make arrangements for ferrying devotees free of cost in five-km radius of Shravanabelgola during the 20-day Mahamastakabhisheka.

The meeting was informed that out of the 12 satellite towns proposed to be constructed for the mega event, work on 10 had been completed.

Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare Manoj Kumar Meena said a 200-bed hospital with 130 specialist doctors, 10 ambulances, 13 clinics and over 1,000 staffers would be set up to cater to the health needs of devotees.

Representative of the mutt, Vinod Doddannanavara, said that entry of people would be restricted near the Bahubali statue from 6 am to 2 pm as the Abhisheka would be performed during this time.

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