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Ramakanta Biswas

Amid the raging controversy over Puri Jagannath temple heritage project, BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi on Monday mounted yet another blistering attack on the Odisha government questioning entrusting of multiple responsibilities on a single official associated with the temple.

In a series of tweets, the former IAS officer turned politician revealed that the present Secretary of Works Department and Chairman of Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC), which is executing the Srimandir Parikrama Project, is also the Chief Administrator of Shri Jagannath Temple Administration ( SJTA).

She said the previous Secretary of the Works department also had a similar charge.

"Is this a mere coincidence or it is a design? As SJTA administrator, he is awarding work to OBCC, passing bills & making payments. As OBCC Chairman, he has been entrusted to execute work and receive payments," Sarangi wrote.  

She alleged that “This is a conflict of interest and violates all norms of financial prudence and the requirements of checks and balances.”

“Why so?? All of us would like to know. Isn't it,” she added. 

Meanwhile, the Odisha government has initiated a process for filing a caveat at the Supreme Court in connection with an order passed by the Orissa High Court in the case on May 9, 2022.

In a letter, works department additional secretary Bimalendu Ray has asked OBCC EIC-cum-MD to contact Gaurav Khanna (Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court) with a certified copy of judgement of the Orissa HC and other relevant records to enable him to file the caveat petition before the SC.

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