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Ban flying aircraft near Khajuraho temples

Written by: Staff
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Bhopal, Nov 21: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has demanded that flying of aircraft just over or near the world-famous ancient temples in Khajuraho be stopped as it caused structure-threatening vibrations in these centrally-protected monuments.

In a letter written to the Indian Airport Authority, ASI (Bhopal circle) Superintendent K K Mohammed has warned of strict action if the matter was not taken seriously.

He expressed the fear that if the request was not heeded, it could push Khajuraho temples into the list of endangered heritage monuments like the Hampi monuments of Karnataka.

The UNESCO had listed Hampi as an endangered structure following the decision to construct two bridges and road near the it. It was de-listed last year after construction work was halted.

The UNESCO had included Khajuraho in the world heritage list in 1986. However, cracks had appeared in these structures and their was existence threatened due to airborne vibrations.

In the letter, Mr Mohammed had pointed out that vibrations caused during landing of the planes had badly affected the western group of temples especially the 11th century 'Nandi' and 'Vishwanatha' temples -- located at Bameetha road with its wall being three km from the runway.

Airborne vibrations had led to several cracks in the rocks of these temples and a study was being conducted. The ASI had conducted video-recording of flights near these structures in September. Some pilots had flown the aircraft near the temples for the benefit of curious tourists causing more danger. In a technical report released by New Delhi-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in 1998, it was apprehended that flights could cause cracks in the temples.

The report stated that acoustic vibrations affected structures of these temples and an increase in the number of flights could lead to permanent damage.

Mentioning the report, Mr Mohammed said the NPL had suggested that the ASI and the IA work out a consensus and pilots must be strictly instructed to avoid flying their aircraft just over or near the temple. However, this had been regularly violated.

The report further stated that traffic density was bound to increase in the coming years, causing additional sources of structural excitation in and around the temple complex due to ground-borne vibrations.

Heavy vehicles should not be allowed to ply near the temples and should be diverted via the bypass road and these aspects considered while planning future expansion of existing airport.

UNI

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