Rashmi Ranjan

As the controversy over alleged breach of rules during the construction of the Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor construction continues to gather more steam, district Collector Samarth Verma on Monday clarified that the works are being carried out with prior approval of the National Monuments Authority (NMA) with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Verma told reporters, “We have received the requisite NOCs from the concerned departments. The NMA and ASI have allowed all public amenities. As per to that, the Heritage Corridor work is being carried out.”

“Drinking water, cloakroom and toilet facilities will be made available. We will make the NOCs of NMA and ASI public soon,” Verma added.

Meanwhile, construction works for the heritage corridor and beautification around the Jagannath Temple continues in full swing. Land has been excavated at several places and concrete structures are being erected under the flagship project. On the western side of the 12th century shrine, electrical control rooms, shelter rooms and toilets will be set up. 

However, questions have been raised on the structural constructions in close vicinity of the Jagannath Temple which may pose threat to the 12th century shrine.

Earlier yesterday, the Jagannath Sena, a local rights outfit, charged the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and the Odisha government with violating the rules laid down by the NMA for preservation and protection of monuments and AMASR Act 20A. 

The outfit has also warned the Odisha government that it will take up the issue with the Supreme Court of India soon.