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Ramakanta Biswas

The controversy surrounding the ongoing work of the heritage corridor project around Puri Jagannath temple escalated further with senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra on Saturday targeting the State's BJD government, Puri district administration and the Shree Jagannath temple administration over the row. 

Expressing concerns over execution of digging activities as deep as 20 feet at places close to Srimandir, Mohapatra said it will pose serious threat to the 12th-century shrine and the Meghanad Prachira (outer wall). 

“Holes as deep as 15 to 20 ft are being dug up at several places within 65-metre radius of Meghanad Prachira using earth-moving machines and excavators. What is the need for digging such deep holes? There is not an iota of doubt that such digging activities will pose a threat to the safety of Jagannath temple and the boundary wall,” said Mohapatra.

The BJP leader has accused Puri Collector of concealing facts regarding the project undertaken by the State government for beautification around the Jagannath temple apart from development of amenities for devotees. 

He said the National Monuments Authority (NMA) had given conditional permission to the State government to undertake the project after the latter had demonstrated the project on August 17 last year. However, the district Collector had partially disclosed to the media about the conditions laid down by the NMA.

“Half presentation of the report by the district Collector has deepened the suspicion. The Collector himself has came under doubts. The responsibility of clearing of air over the suspicion lies with the temple administration,” the BJP veteran said. 

Mohapatra demanded that the detailed project model or design of the heritage corridor and its execution apart from the possible risks posed by it should be made public at once.

“Neither the NMA, nor the general public have the detailed design about the administration office, pavement area, parking areas and other amenities to be developed under the project,” Mohapatra said. 

“An expert committee should inspect the site immediately. The panel should prepare a report determining the depth of the holes to be dug up for the project work,” Mohapatra advised in his reaction to the media.

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