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Puri: House panel inspects work around Jagannath temple

The Odisha government in 2019 had started the project to transform the holy town into an international place of heritage
12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple.
12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple.
File photo

Our Correspondent   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 22.04.22, 01:00 AM

Members of a parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture on Thursday visited the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple and inspected the work around the shrine under the Srimandir Parikrama Project.

The Odisha government in 2019 had started a project named “Puri Heritage Corridor Project.” to transform the holy town of Puri into an international place of heritage. However, social activists, as well as Opposition parties, alleged that the work under the Puri Heritage Corridor Project was illegal as it violated the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, which prohibits new constructions within 100 metres area of a nationally protected monument.

They pointed out that the unauthorised construction work was posing a serious threat to the structure of the Jagannath Temple which is more than 800-years old. Later, a petition was also filed challenging the work in the Orissa High Court. The court has asked the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a detailed report.

“The matter is sub-judice. Whatever the court’s direction, every agency will have to carry it out. We are inspecting the work and will submit our report to the parliament,” said a member of the standing committee.

The high court on April 8 issued notices to the state government and the ASI seeking their response on the status of the ongoing heritage corridor project around the 12th century Jagannath Temple in Puri. The high court has sought to know what kind of work is being done and what structures were being constructed under the heritage project, whether the work had the required permission of the concerned authorities and whether there is any structural threat to the temple because of the ongoing work.

The ASI on Thursday sought more time from the Orissa High Court to submit a detailed report on the project. The court has directed the state government and the ASI to carry out a joint inspection of the ongoing construction activities around the shrine. The order followed ASI’s appeal for two more weeks’ time to file a detailed report on the issue. The next hearing is scheduled for May 16.



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