No diesel, petrol vehicles to be allowed at Khajuraho

February 21st, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by admin  

By Sanjay Sharma
Bhopal, Feb 21 (IANS) People visiting the famed Khajuraho temples, known for their erotic sculptures, can travel to the site now in special battery-powered vehicles - a step taken to protect the World Heritage structure from pollution. The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to ban the entry of vehicles powered by petrol and diesel to the temples, located in the Chhattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. The battery powered road vehicles (BPRV) are built by BHEL.

“The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to ban the entry of diesel and petrol vehicles up to the shrine once the construction of a concrete two-lane road is complete. It is expected to be completed by March-end,” officials said.

“We will make the area around the Khajuraho temples pollution-free on the lines of the Taj Mahal in Agra. The battery-operated vehicles will run from the entrance to the shrine. The two-lane road will be decorated with colourful stones and a walkway will also be laid,” ASI superintending archaeologist (Bhopal circle) K.K. Muhammad told IANS.

The Khajuraho group of temples, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, attract thousands of national and international tourists every year.

“Pollutants are damaging the walls of the temples. Unesco has asked us to make the area around the temple a pollution-free zone. We will be able to meet our target by the end of this financial year,” Muhammad said.

Tourists will also be provided with a particular type of socks that will not damage or corrode the temple floors, he said.

According to him, all construction within a radius of one kilometre of the temple has been removed after paying Rs.30 million as compensation to 50 families.

“We have scientifically examined the temple walls and found that fumes from vehicles were slowly damaging them,” he said.

“We will also plant more saplings and grow grass so that the area looks green. Khajur (date palms) trees will also be planted in keeping with the name of the shrine, Khajuraho,” he said.

In fact Khajuraho, he said, is all set to profit from the special road, new boats and the battery-operated vehicles.

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