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Suryakant Jena

The controversy surrounding the Puri Srimandir heritage corridor project seems no signs of dying down. Reports of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey being carried out around the Jagannath Temple in a secret manner and that too in the deep of the night has raised more eyebrows.

As per sources, some people were spotted carrying out som`e inspection from the Kakudikhai temple in the southeast corner of the Temple to the Emar mutt and other nearby spots with some machines on their hands late Saturday night

When asked, the persons concerned clarified that they were officials of Geocarte Radar Technology Private Limited and were conducting the GPR survey on behalf of IIT Gandhinagar.

After some inquiry, it has been alleged that the Odisha Bridge & Construction Corporation Limited has asked IIT Gandhinagar to conduct the GPR survey at the project site only at night. The institute has been asked to complete the enumeration process within 4 days. While two days of assessment is complete, the final report is likely to be submitted after two more days of the inspection, said sources.

Notably, the corridor project row is currently subjudice in Orissa High Court. During the last hearing in the case, the Archaeological Survey of India in its joint inspection report had submitted that the Odisha government had not carried out the GPR survey around the temple before executing deep excavation works for the project construction.

The ASI had raised serious suspicion that the digging work without the survey might have destroyed rich heritage around the 12th-century shrine.

Meanwhile, neither the temple administration nor the ASI have informed anything about the survey work. However, doubts have been raised whether the clandestine conduct of the survey around the temple is aimed at secretly obtaining the GPR report on the shrine for early submission in court. 

It is worthwhile to note here that the High Court has scheduled June 20 as the next date of hearing in connection with the matter.

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