Mrunal Manmay Dash

Intensifying protest over alleged violation of norms in Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project works in Puri, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Monday lashed out at the Odisha government and questioned why the construction activities have not been stopped even after the direction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Sarangi took to Twitter to convey her displeasure and wrote, “Archaeological Survey of India has issued letter to the concerned authorities of Puri for stopping work in the Prohibited area (100 metres) of Jagannath Temple, Puri. But work has not stopped by the State Govt till now. Illegal this is!”

“Isn't it time for all of us to Save Our Temple?” she asked.

The letter from the ASI, which she was quoting, 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).

The letter stated, “You (Puri Dist Admin) are carrying out construction work near about the ancient temple Shree Jagannath Temple, at Puri, which falls under its Prohibited Area'. In this connection, I would like to inform you that the ancient monument Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri is declared as Centrally Protected Monument of National Importance by Government of India and this office was responsible for its maintenance, upkeep and conservation/preservation.”

“As per the rules, the area up to 100 metre from the protected limits of the monument has been declared as 'Prohibited Area' in which any type of excavation and construction is totally prohibited and beyond it up to 200 meters, have been declared as 'Regulated Area' in which Competent Authority are authorized to give permission for any type of construction and mining activities,” the letter read.
The ASI had asked the administration to produce the permission, if any, was taken for construction within Prohibited Area from the competent authority of the said Nationally Protected Monument, otherwise stop the work immediately, the ASI had said.