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Rashmi Ranjan

Bowing to mounting pressure from the Opposition, The Odisha government on Thursday formed an eight-member House Committee under the chairmanship of State Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro for the inspection of the Puri Srimandir heritage corridor project.

The members of the House committee include- Narasingha Mishra, Debi Prasad Mishra, Bikram Keshari Arukha, Pratap Jena, Jayant Sarangi, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.

Earlier in the day, the controversy surrounding the Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project echoed in the Parliament with Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi telling the Lok Sabha that the project work was being carried out without the permission of the National Monuments Authority (NMA).  

Raising the burning issue in the Lower House, the BJP MP said though the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (or AMASR Act) 1958 says any kind of new construction cannot be carried out within 100 metre radius of any historical site, Illegal digging of ground within 100 metres near the 12th century shrine is presently underway.

Reacting to the allegations, BJD’s Puri MP Pinaki Mishra said, “Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project work is underway only after obtaining NOC from the National Monuments Authority. No digging is being done, only four toilets are being constructed. The works will have no impact on the temple.”

Notably, the Opposition BJP, Congress and several local outfits have been claiming that the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and the Odisha government are violating the rules laid down by the National Monument Authority (NMA) for preservation and protection of monuments and AMASR Act 20A in carrying out the project work.

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