Temple sees red over highway widening project

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  • Published 25.07.13

The management of the 85-year-old Pardih Kali Mandir near Jamshedpur has threatened a massive agitation if any attempt is made to dismantle a portion of the temple to facilitate widening of the NH-33.

The threat came after a team from Madhucon Projects Limited, the concessionaire executing the Rs 1,479-crore four-laning project, carried out measurements on Wednesday and wrote the words “2.8M IN” on one of the walls of the temple at Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan district.

Temple priest and national secretary of Juna Akhara Mahant Vidyanand Saraswati sent out messages to nearly 25 village heads on Wednesday, apprising them of the “marking” done by Madhucon.

“We spoke to those who carried out the measurements and wrote on the wall. They told us that 2.8 metres from the temple premises will be taken for the road that is being widened into four lanes. This is a serious issue. We will oppose any move to damage this place of historical importance,” Saraswati said.

He added that he would take up the matter with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and if it was not resolved, naga sadhus from all 13 akharas across the country, along with villagers, would block the road and launch an indefinite agitation.

Naga sadhus from Haridwar, Nimsara, Allahabad, Mathura and Ayodhya, Amravati, Bilaspur and Ujjain have agreed to come to Jamshedpur to save the temple,” he said.

The Pardih temple complex is considered sacred by naga sadhus as a number of shrines are located here.

“There are samadhis of three naga sadhus at the place, which earlier had the ancient Van Devi temple. Gobarghusi ruler had gifted us the plot in 1928. People travelling from Jamshedpur to Ranchi stop to pray at the temple. It is surprising that despite assurances from former chief minister Arjun Munda and also NHAI officials that the temple would not be touched, measurements were carried out,” the priest said.

Senior NHAI officials in Ranchi, however, said they had made it clear to Madhucon that the temple should not be touched. “I am not aware of any measurements carried out by Madhucon. I will speak to the company’s officials. They were told to plan the project in such a way that the temple is not disturbed,” said chief general manager, NHAI Jharkhand, Ravinder Kumar.

Madhucon’s senior project manager Randip Kumar allayed all fears.

“I will look into the issue. We will not hurt religious sentiments by dismantling a portion of the temple. The marking must have been done by our officials as a part of a survey on the right-of-way required for the project,” Kumar said from Ranchi.