The much-awaited Samaleswari Temple Area Management and Local Economy Initiatives (SAMALEI) project was inaugurated and dedicated to the public by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Sambalpur today.
Patnaik arrived at the Jamadarpalli airstrip in Sambalpur and reached the Samalei Temple at 12:30pm. He stayed in the temple for around 90 minutes during which he dedicated the project to the people.
It is pertinent to mention here that a yajna was started on the temple premises in the morning which continued till the inauguration by the Chief Minister.
The temple was closed for public darshan between 9am and 2pm for the inauguration programme and a special ritual.
Notably, the government has declared today as a holiday for all the schools and colleges in Odisha for the SAMALEI project inauguration in Sambalpur.
The redevelopment project worth Rs 200 crore for the shrine of Goddess Samaleswari was announced by CM Naveen Patnaik on February 17, 2021.
The redevelopment plan included the construction of four heritage gates on the four sides of the temple and other infrastructure facilities like parking slots, vending zones and toilets near the temple for the welfare of thousands of devotees and tourists who throng the shrine every day.
Apart from that, housing projects for servitors of the temple, a 30-meter-wide road to connect the temple zone with the Mahanadi bank were also in the plan. The road is said to help in the daily conduct of Mahanadi alati rituals for the presiding Goddess.
The government had also planned to develop 108 acres of area around the temple.