ASI, not Narendra Modi, will restore Kedarnath shrine: govt

Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch Wednesday said the Kedarnath temple has suffered much damage but assured that it would be restored it to its "original glory".

Rejecting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's offer to restore the temple, Katoch said the Archaeological Survey of India was the best equipped to do the job. "If we give the restoration work to others they will do it in their own way. The ASI has the best experts. They will do the restoration work keeping the originality in mind," she said.

The ASI had flown a team to the temple last week but bad weather prevented their helicopter from landing. So, it has assessed the damage from pictures of the shrine. "The ASI is ready with a plan to restore the temple and will start restoration work as soon as the state gives us the go-ahead. That is only possible once road connectivity to the temple is restored again as restoration will also require the ASI to take up equipment. The ASI will preserve the Kerdarnath temple as it is and will also take into account glacial studies and the possible impact similar natural phenomenon can have on the shrine," Katoch said.

Her ministry, Katoch said, could fund the restoration of the temple from the National Culture Fund and may request voluntary public contributions.

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