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Rashmi Rekha Das

The controversy surrounding the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey around the Jagannath Temple deepened with Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Tuesday criticising the Odisha government’s stand on undertaking the exercise in the night.

Coming down heavily at the State government, the seer said, “The state government carried out GPR survey in a secret manner that too in the dead of the night due to its fearfulness.  Had the government carried out GPR survey in the daytime, it would have been come to public glare. The government should have consulted architects, engineers, experts and all stakeholders including me before undertaking Puri Srimandir heritage corridor project.”

Earlier, Swami Saraswati broke his silence on the ongoing row over Srimandir Heritage Corridor project. Launching a veiled attack on the State government, the sheer said it has been quite natural of the government to convert a 'tapobhumi' into 'bhogbhumi'.  

Meanwhile, the seer held discussion with Puri Gajapati, Temple administration, Puri district collector and senior officials on the issue Monday.  

Swami Saraswati said “Carrying out GPR survey in middle of the night clearly indicates that the government was afraid of public. That’s why it was done in the night to keep it hidden from public glare.”

Meanwhile, Viswa Hindu Parishad vice president Jiveshwar Mishra said heritage sites to be developed not to be destroyed.  The government should consult with Puri Gajapati and the seer before taking any such decision.

Jiveshwar Mishra said, “Development of heritage sites is inevitable. But destruction of historical monuments and heritage sites should not be done in the name of development. Spiritual ambiance of Jagannath temple should be maintained keeping archaeological and other problems pertaining to temple aside.

Meanwhile, an all-party delegation including BJD's Lenin Mohanty, BJP's Jatin Mohanty and Sudeep Ray, Congress' Arjya Gyanendra, Sculptor Sudarshan Sahu, culture expert Prafulla Rath and historian Anil Dhir met the Puri Shankaracharya over the project. The delegation was also joined by the Additional Superintendent of ASI, Chittaranjan Das.

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