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In the name of development Hindu Heritage in Puri put under threat.


Hindu Heritage put under threat…..

The Heritage corridor is a dangerous threat to Puri temple safety: ASI.

Debabrata Mohapatra  | TNN  | Bhubaneswar | Mar 10, 2022:: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has warned the Odisha government of a possible threat to the structural safety of the Jagannath Temple in Puri owing to the ongoing heritage corridor work.

On November 24, 2022, the Puri king and scion of the erstwhile royal kingdom of Utkal, Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, laid the foundation for the ambitious project in the presence of chief minister Naveen Patnaik. It envisages beautification work within a 75-metre radius of the 12th century shrine besides development of amenities for devotees. The government aims to complete the Rs 800-crore project by May next year.

“We found that giant earth-moving machines and excavators were being used for digging activities close to the temple. Apprehending threat to the structural safety of the temple, I immediately wrote to the district collector (Puri) as well as the Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation Limited (OBCC) and sought their replies to the purpose of the massive digging activities,” Arun Malik, the superintending archaeologist of ASI, told TOI.

The ASI office in Bhubaneswar drew the attention of its director general, V Vidyavati, to the issue. Vidyavathi, who visited Puri on February 21 to take stock of the ground situation, also reportedly expressed her concern over the matter.

“Our DG has made a few observations and sent them to the state government to ensure compliance with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act (AMASR), 2010,” Malik said. He, however, did not disclose the observations of Vidyavathi and her suggestions to the government.

Though the AMASR Act prohibits any kind of new construction within 100 metres of a temple, the National Monuments Authority (NMA) has, so far, given permission to the state government for the construction of a cloakroom, a shelter pavilion, three toilets, an electrical room and a pavement within the prohibited 75-metre zone.

“We have obtained the mandatory no-objection certificate from the NMA. We will work in close coordination with the ASI to implement the project, which aims to provide better facilities to the devotees,” Samarth Verma, the district collector of Puri, said.

Courtesy: TOI.

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