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Vikash Sharma

 At a time when the BJP and BJD are trading fireworks over the ongoing Puri Heritage Corridor project, the Orissa High Court on Friday sought responses from the State government and Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI).

The High Court has sought replies from both the parties on three aspects- What is being constructed around the Puri Jagannath temple, whether there is permission for carrying out such construction activities and whether there is any structural threat to Srimandir or not.

Both the Odisha government and ASI have been asked to file their responses by April 17. The Court came up with the direction while hearing a petition filed by Puri based resident Dilip Baral. The Orissa High Court has fixed April 21 as the date to hear the matter again.

In Parliament, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi had raised the issue and alleged that the works have been undertaken under the project around vicinity of the Srimandir without permission from ASI and NMAand it is posing serious threats to the 12th century shrine in Parliament recently.

In a tweet, Sarangi Aparajita Sarangi had lashed out at the Odisha government, questioning why the construction activities have not been stopped even after the direction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The letter from the ASI, which she quoted, was issued on February 5, 2022 by the Office of The Conservation Assistant, ASI to all the stakeholders of the Heritage project; Puri district collector, SP Puri and the Chief Administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

Responding to the tweet, BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda had said, “A very important revelation indeed. The excuses being given by Odisha’s governing party have been demolished.” “The state must now honour every Odia’s sentiment and stop its unauthorised destruction of the prohibited area surrounding the temple of Mahaprabhu Jagannath,” Panda tweeted.

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