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Panel Urge For Srimandir

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition BJP and Congress on Tuesday demanded the constitution of a House Committee to examine construction work, undertaken by the State Government to develop a Heritage Corridor, near the Jagannath temple in Puri.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi (BJP) alleged that the construction works were being carried out for the Srimandir Heritage Corridor project close to the 12th-century shrine without the permission of the National Monument Authority (NMA) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Deep pits are being dug close to the temple, which may create cracks on the walls of the temple that may threaten the structure, he said.

Demanding formation of a House Committee consisting of members from all political parties, temple administration, servitors and architectural experts, Sarangi said, “I am not against the development of the temple and the pilgrim town, but it should be safe.”

Supporting him, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra too demanded the formation of a House Committee so that the members can inspect the construction works being carried out within 75 meters of the shrine.
“As the local MLA has raised doubts over the safety of the temple’s structure, a House Committee should be formed so that the members can physically verify whether they (construction) are being done keeping in view the safety of the temple,” he said.

As Speaker SN Patro remained silent over the demand, the BJP MLAs trooped into the Well of the House and raised slogans against the State Government.

The BJP members also shouted slogans, denouncing the manner in which top government officials congratulated Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on BJD’s success in the recently-concluded Panchayat elections and civic body polls.

Unable to run the House, Patro adjourned the proceeding till 4 pm. The situation remained similar in the post-lunch session too as the BJP continued to stage protests demanding ruling from the chair.

The Congress members also created ruckus in the House demanding discussion over mining issues in the State. Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged that 104 mine owners in the State are plundering the minerals of the state and illegally transporting those outside the state.

Unable to run the House, the Speaker first adjourned the proceedings till 4.21 pm and again till tomorrow 10.30 am.
In between, Parliamentary Affairs Minister BK Arukha said the Heritage Corridor project work is underway and it will not have any impact on the temple. An unanimous resolution was also passed in the House on February 27, 2021 for development of the Puri Jagannath Temple, he said.

On the Opposition’s demand for a House Committee, Arukha said that the Government is prepared to constitute a committee on March 31 when various panels of the Assembly will be formed.

The Rs 331.28 crore Srimandir Parikrama Project aims to transform the pilgrim town of Puri into a world heritage site. As a part of the project, several infrastructure development works have been undertaken around the 75-metre radius of the Jagannath temple.