Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government’s tourism department has scrapped its programme–book reading with William Dalrymple, award winning historian and writer — following reports hosted in India Whispers that it has raised a controversy with scholars and historians opposing to organise it inside the protected monument Mukteswar Temple.

The Odisha Tourism has said that it has to cancel the programme as the model code of conduct is in force in the state due to the elections.

Dalrymple has twittered that he would have the book reading session at Bocca Cafe near Master Canteen of Bhubaneswar city on the same date and same time.

” The venue for my Bhubaneshwar reading tomorrow has changed to Bocca Cafe at 6.30. Look forward to seeing all friends and followers tomorrow! “, the author has said in a tweet.

The Odisha tourism department had organised the book reading session with author Dalrymple at Mukteswar Temple, here on Friday.

Eminent historian and Intac member Anil Dhir had lodged a complaint with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) against this show of Odisha Tourism and Dalrymple.

Dhir, in a letter to Usha Sharma, director general of ASI, New Delhi, has stated that Mukteswar Temple, being a protected monument of the ASI, can not be used for commercial purpose. Pointing out that the show is aimed at promoting Dalrymple’s new book Nine Lives published by Bloomsbuery.

Dhir has also filed a complaint with the police against the programme in the Mukteswar Temple premises.

“It is purely a private affairs with commercial interest”, said Dhir questioning how come the ASI has given permission for such activities in the premises of a temple of archaeological importance. It is against the ASI and national laws, he pointed out adding, it also violates the Odisha Ancient Monument Preservation Act 1956.