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Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid the political slugfest that has erupted in Odisha over the Centre's objections to the Ekamra Kshetra Project, the BJP on Wednesday said that any developmental should be carried out as per the law.

“Carrying out developmental activities by ignoring laws will never be accepted,” said BJP Bhubaneswar district president Babu Singh.   

Congress spokesperson Nishikant Mishra also came down heavily on the State government and alleged that the State government had not invited suggestions from people, nor did they discuss with different sections of the society. 

However, lashing out at the BJP-led Central government, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday alleged the shrine is being treated different from the other famous shrines in the county. 

“The yardsticks set for carrying out all sorts of activities around Kashi Vishwanath, Kedaranath and Somnath temples are different from the one’s set for Puri Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar. Why this is so?” asked State Minister Ashok Chandra Panda. 

“The State government had earlier clarified the Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance to the Centre twice. If there was a necessity of the clarification for the third time, the Centre should have written to the Chief Secretary as it did earlier, instead of sending it to the Raj Bhawan,” said Panda. 

Mentioning that the ordinance was outside the legislative competence of the State legislature as it goes against the provisions of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958, the Home Ministry in its letter sent to the Governor has sought clarifications on certain clauses.  

“These centrally protected monuments are governed by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. As per the said Act, new constructions are not allowed in prohibited area (100 metres zone from protected monument). Further, 200 metres area beyond prohibited area has been declared as regulated area where permission from competent authority on recommendation from the National Monuments authority is required to undertake construction-related activities including repairs,” the letter sent to the Governor’s office read.

In response to the letter of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Law Department, Government of Odisha, shot off a letter to the Ministry on April 4, mentioning about the earlier letter sent on March 8 and its delivery on March 14. 

On the other hand, the servitors are of the opinion that the ordinance will be beneficial to them. “The State government should discuss with the Central government and find a way out to implement the ordinance,” said Badu Nijog secretary Kamalakant Badu. 

“The matter should not be politicised. If there is any objection regarding any specific clause, it should be amended to get permission from the Central government,” observed Brahman Nijog secretary Biranchi Narayan Pati. 

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