Puri Srimandir Parikrama Project: Reception Centre To Be Shifted Out Of Prohibited Zone

Puri: Amid political war of words over the legality of the Shree Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor Project in Odisha’s Puri, the state government has decided to shift the proposed reception centre out of the prohibited zone.

The Cultural Advisory Committee of the Srimandir Parikrama Project met on May 11 and took a decision regarding the shifting of the proposed Shree Jagannath Reception Centre, a component of the project, outside the 100 metre prohibited zone of the temple.

The panel headed by Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb has decided that the proposed reception centre will be established on the regulated zone (within 200 metre) of the temple.

Earlier, it was decided for construction of the reception centre within the 75 metre of the boundary wall of the temple.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had then raised concern over the plan.

Though digging of land has already started within the prohibited zone for the reception centre, the construction work was yet to commence.

The proposed facility was moved from the prohibited zone to the regulated zone for better management of the crowd, a member of the Cultural Advisory Committee said.

Notably, on May 9, the ASI had informed the Orissa High Court that no valid permission was given for the heritage corridor project being constructed around the Shree Jagannath Temple.

While hearing a PIL, a division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice S. Muralidhar had directed the ASI to conduct a joint inspection of the site with the state government and submit a report before the court.

The ASI also said that the drawing and structural designs included in the revised detailed project report (DPR) are different from the one presented to the National Monument Authority (NMA).

Besides, there is every possibility that the construction agency OBCC during the excavation and removal of the earth might have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site, the ASI affidavit said.

However, the court, in its order, said that the above observation of ASI is vague and fails to be specific as to whether any actual damage has in fact been caused to any archaeological remains at the heritage site.

The court has asked the state government to file an affidavit in response to the affidavit of the ASI on or before June 20. The next hearing has been scheduled for June 22.

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