The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 16 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Temple trip, on a new road

Bhubaneswar, Nov 15: The state government is planning to build a new road from Lingaraj Temple to Kotiteertheswar Temple at a cost of around Rs 2 crore, to ease traffic pressure in the area. The 410-metre two-lane road will come with a three-acre parking area.

The project, which is to be taken up jointly by the tourism department and the roads and building division of the public works department (PWD), will also help provide a clearer view of the 11th century Lingaraj temple as shops and roadside vendors in front of the shrine will be relocated along the new road.

Even the dilapidated Lingaraj Market Complex run by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be demolished to clear the area for the laying of the road which will run along the Devi Padahara pond, behind Ananta Vasudev Temple and the farm lands on the side of natural drainage channel No. 7 near Kotiteertheswar Lane. The private land near the temple, which is owned by businessmen and the Lingaraj Temple Trust, will also be acquired to speed up the road project.

“As the area surrounding Lingaraj Temple has been declared a heritage zone, it is our responsibility to keep it free from encroachment and make sure it looks clean. While the southern, northern and western sides have almost been cleared, the front or the eastern part will be cleared with the help of this ambitious project. Once the project is completed, tourist buses coming from Puri and Konark carrying travellers from neighbouring states such as Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country, can be parked in the parking area, which is as of now lacking near Lingaraj Temple,” said local MLA Ashok Kumar Panda. Senior divisional manager, Orissa Tourism Development Corporation, J.K. Das said: “The state tourism department has already given Rs 30 lakh to the PWD and the rest — Rs 1.69 crore — will be provided by them from their plan budget. All the displaced traders and vendors will be rehabilitated.” However, regarding Lingaraj Market, he said that the decision depends on the civic body, as it was the owner of the property. The construction would be undertaken by the engineers of division II of the PWD.

PWD executive engineer of division II Ranjit Sahu said: “Though the planning is over, selection of the contractor is under way. It will be done soon with the mandatory signing of a contract.”

Assistant engineer Sisir Mishra said the two-lane road would have facilities such as footpath and accompanying drains. However, the parking lot would be built by the tourism department, as it is not included in the road project.

The road would later be extended up to Taleswar Mahadev to improve the communication between Kedar Gouri and Lingaraj Temple.

Tourism department sources added that Old Town would soon have a mega tourist circuit, for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8.14 crore. The proposed circuit envisages, among others things, renovation of two major roads, construction of a “parikrama” around Lingaraj Temple, soft lighting for eight protected monuments and two tourism interpretation centres.

While the tourism department is trying to revive Ekamreswar, the miniature temple of Lord Lingaraj near Lingaraj police station, a dedicated road corridor will be constructed to link Puri, Old Town and Khandagiri via Dhauli. An amphitheatre will also be built opposite Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 people.

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