Pradeep Pattanayak

With corruption alleged to the tune of crores of rupees in erecting temporary barricades for devotees in front of Puri Srimandir, devotees as well as servitors have demanded a Vigilance probe. 

As per the reply received by RTI activist Dilip Baral to his queries some days ago, the Puri Public Works department spent crores of rupees for erecting temporary barricades. 

In the year 2019-20 when the temple was out of bounds for devotees due to the outbreak of Covid-19, Rs 35.55 lakh was spent for putting up barricades. The next year, i.e. 2020-21, the amount spent on barricades came down to Rs 21 lakh. In 2022-23, it again went up to Rs 1.11 crore. A whopping Rs 1.60 crore was spent for erecting barricades on the grand road on the occasion of this New Year's Day.  

Dilip Baral said, “Prior to 2019-20, the money spent on temporary barricades used to be very low. But in the last three years, crores were spent. I suspect the involvement of contractors, officers of the R & B department, and other officials. In the coming days, a complaint will be filed with the Vigilance department. A proper investigation would reveal everything.” 

The demand for a Vigilance probe into the alleged corruption is growing louder with devotees and servitors seeking clarity on the fund utilisation. 

Also Read: Puri Srimandir Ratna Bhandar counting: Panel meets to discuss convenient time, technicalities 

“Money is spent on putting up a rest shed. Money is again spent on dismantling it. Similarly, barricades are installed and then dismantled. This way, money is being looted. The state government should get it investigated by the Vigilance department,” said Ramchandra Dasmohapatra, a former member of the temple managing committee. 

When contacted, Puri district Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain said, “We have received the allegation. In this regard, a meeting will be held tomorrow where it will be discussed whether the allegations are genuine or not.”

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