Mrunal Manmay Dash

Terming the ongoing construction works under the Srimandir Parikrama Project in Puri as illegal, BJP MP Jual Oram on Sunday claimed that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik might be deliberately kept in dark about the unlawful construction near the Lord Jagannath temple.

Speaking to reporters, the BJP MP from Sundargarh alleged that the government officials are conducting the construction work surreptitiously and the Odisha CM might not be aware of the entire issue.

“The construction should be stopped immediately until the matter is resolved in the court,” he demanded.

Oram also came down heavily on Puri MP Pinaki Mishra and alleged, “Mishra has uttered sheer lies on the Parliament floor that nothing except some toilets are being constructed in the prohibited area. But physically, a lot of illegal constructions are going on.”

“We will apprise the issue to our national leadership shortly. We will never allow the State government to play with the safety of Srimandir,” he added.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday revealed that the excavation and soil removal work during construction under the Srimandir Parikrama Project may have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site.

In a report submitted to the Orissa High Court, the ASI stated that during the joint inspection followed by onsite discussions with Odisha Bridge & Construction Corporation Limited (OBCC) and Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) officials, it was found that the ongoing construction work of the Shree Mandira Parikrama Project has no valid permission/NOC issued by the competent authorities.

According to sources, the ASI in an affidavit clarified before the High Court bench that it had not given nod for any type of excavation or construction work in the 100-metre prohibited area around the Jagannath temple as per the guidelines of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.