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Rashmi Rekha Das

Dilip Baral, a resident of Puri knocked the door of High Court recently urging it to instruct Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) not to allow any construction activities inside the 100 metre radius as part of the Srimandir Corridor Project.

As per the petition, ASI has listed Srimandir Corridor Project in unauthorised category. ASI has prepared a list of heritage sites where construction works are being carried out under 100 metre radius without its permission. Bhubaneswar Circle has released a list of such sites recently. The list includes Puri Atharanala, Konark Temple, Bhubaneswar Mukteswar temple, Sari temple and Cuttack Barabati Fort. Although Srimandir Corridor Project has come under such category, ASI has kept mum over the issue.  

Earlier, ASI in its affidavit to High Court mentioned that construction work under 100 metre prohibited area are carried out without its nod.  Also, answering to a RTI query, National Monument Authority (NMA) had 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.  It had also not given its nod for construction of Meghanada boundary wall. Thus, the state government should immediately stop construction work inside the temple, read the affidavit.

The affidavit further says, “Going by NMA Act, carrying out construction activities inside the 100 metre radius of the temple is illegal." 
Dillip Baral said “Inside 100 metre of Meghananda wall is prohibited area. No construction projects should be carried out in the area. Permission of DG of ASI is a must for carrying out such activity in the area. Without taking DG’s permission, construction work is carried out. Puri Circle Office and Bhubaneswar Circe Office had written to the State government seeking immediate end of illegal construction inside the 100 metre prohibited area of the temple in February, 2022. But ASI has failed to do anything. ASI’s silence over the issue has put itself under scanner.”

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