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Jual Favors Stop Heritage Work

Bhubaneswar: Veteran Tribal Leader and BJP MP Jual Oram Sunday demanded that work in the “Protected Zone” must be stopped immediately.

Former Tribal Affairs Minister Mr.Oram on 15 May accused Puri MP Pinaki Misra of misleading Lok Sabha while making a statement on the Heritage Corridor Project in the House.

“This is illegal to undertake any construction project in the protected zone. I doubt some officers are carrying out illegal work by hiding the truth from the chief minister. It is unfortunate that Puri MP Pinaki Misra misled Parliament while speaking on the Puri Heritage Corridor Project. I was present there when Pinaki babu made the statement,” Mr.Oram alleged.

BJD MP Mr.Misra had said that only four toilets were being constructed near the Shree Jagannath Temple.

He, however, later clarified that he could not mention other works being carried out at the temple due to the paucity of time in the Lok Sabha.

Mr.Oram said the BJP State President has already visited the construction site in Puri and will soon submit a report to the party’s central leadership.

Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said in twitter handle that “Shree Jagannath Temple Administration has been asked by National Monuments Authority to revise its building plan; the office structure that would have come up within 200 Meters. Law has to be followed. The structural safety of our Jagannath Temple is our top priority.”

 BJD leader and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) Mayor Subhas Singh said the charges are being made to halt the ongoing developmental works in Puri even as all parties had unanimously agreed to the project.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to the overall development of Puri and transforming it into a world heritage site, Mr.Singh said.

Amid the ongoing controversy over the Heritage Corridor project at the 800-year-old Shree Jagannath Temple here, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had on Saturday said that there is “no objection” to development activity for benefit of devotees of the 12th-century shrine, but such work should be carried out within the ambit of law.

This statement from senior BJP leader holds significance as his party colleagues, including saffron camp’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, demanded suspension of the work in the protected zone of the temple. 

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)  on 9 May informed the Orissa High Court that the project was being carried out without valid permission from the competent authority.

 However, the Union minister did not demand for suspension of work of the controversial corridor project as his party colleagues made earlier.

Mr.Pradhan said, “It is not wise to ignore recovery of ancient idols and other heritage remains dating back to thousands of years from the surrounding of Shree Mandir. As a devotee of Lord Jagannath, I expect that the beautification works under the Puri Heritage Corridor Project be implemented within laws.”

Earlier, Odisha Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage appealed to the Chief Minister to temporarily suspend all construction activities near Shree Jagannath Temple.

 Interestingly Mr.Patnaik is one of the founding members of INTACH.