Rashmi Rekha Das

Amid the raging controversy surrounding the Puri Jagannath Temple heritage corridor project, another startling revelation has come to fore in connection with the project.

According to information availed through Right to Information (RTI) Act, the National Monument Authority (NMA) has not given its nod to carry out construction work in the 100-metre prohibited zone around the Jagannath Temple.

Bolangir-based rights activist Hemant Panda has sought information from NMA which functions under Culture Ministry of the Centre.

Answering to Panda’s query, the NMA stated that it had not given No Objection Certificate (NOC) to carry out construction work inside the 100 metre prohibited area as part of the shrine’s corridor project.

However, the NMA has also made it clear that it has no authority to take action against such unlawful activities.

Hemant Panda said, “Without NOC of National Monument Authority, any kind of construction work within the prohibited area around the 12th century temple is against the law.

On the other hand, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bijoy Mohapatra on Tuesday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Srimandir Corridor Project. In a press meet, Bijoy urged CBI to take action those found culpable in the case, be it the Odisha Government or Archaeological Survey of India.

Mohapatra said “ASI has failed to do its duty. Otherwise, controversy surrounding Srimandir Corridor Project would not have erupted.  Besides, mutts in Puri were demolished in violation of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. I would like to request everyone not to make Lord Jagannath a toy.”