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Rashmi Rekha Das

Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati came up with a massive statement on Wednesday while calling out Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik citing his deep agony over the destruction of heritage in the name of the development under Srimandir Parikrama project in the pilgrim town.

Raising objections to the ongoing developmental works around the Jagannath temple, the Puri seer compared it to roads of destruction which would render the holy land to lose its identity and existence. 

"We are in favour of development, but we do not want the heritage site to lose its identity and get destroyed in the name of development. Mutts are being demolished in the name of widening of roads which is not acceptable," the Shankaracharya said”. 

Taking a dig at the government machinery, Shankaracharya said, the administration should not think that itself as the all-powerful because of public mandate because it may change any time. 

"Odisha people have enough trust in this government for which the government is sticking. But people's opinion may change," he said. 
“Puri is the pilgrimage capital but the government should not make turn this Tapobhumi into a Bhogobhumi. Puri should not be made a centre of 'surasundari', said the seer. 

He further warned Odisha government that activities to tarnish the holy order of Lord Jagannath may invite trouble for the State. The holy city will soon its sheen if the administration keeps ruining things and turning it into a picnic spot or exhibition centre for the enjoyment of all in the name of development.

The Shankaracharya called upon Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep in mind the way Puri is making its way towards destruction in the name of progress should not be allowed to happen.

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