Mrunal Manmay Dash

Resentment is brewing in Puri over the construction of Sri Jagannath Reception Centre (SJRC) and Raghunandan Library as the proposed structures are being constructed near the age-old and now razed, Emar Mutt.

The people in the know opposed the construction alleging non-discloser of GPS mapping report which was undertaken to ascertain any possible hidden treasure underneath the Emar Mutt site.

Precious objects such as silver bricks, bronze idols, etc. were found at different times from the Emar Mutt along with a lion's statue.

After the discovery, it was suspected that there were still many more secret treasures inside the Emar Mutt. On May 18, 2022, the OBCC carried out a GPRS mapping at Rs 41.60 lakh. Mapping was done around the temple and the premises of the Mutt. However, it is alleged that its report has not been made public so far.

Excavation For Construction Near Emar MuttExcavation For Construction Near Emar Mutt

In such a situation, intellectuals have expressed dissatisfaction over the construction of the Shree Jagannath Reception Center and Raghunandan Library, a hundred meters away from the Mutt.

“IIT Gandhinagar had given a proposal of Rs 41.30 lakh for the GPS mapping of Emar Mutt. The government has paid them Rs 41.60 lakh including GST. As it is public money, every Odia has a right to know what was found in the GPS mapping whether there were any valuable or historically significant items hidden underneath it,” said an intellectual, Dilip Baral.

“The government should make the GPS mapping report public. It should work on more constructions in the vicinity only after confirming that there is not any significant thing hidden underneath the foundation of Emar Mutt,” Baral said.

Even the managing committee members said they are not aware of it. The matter will be discussed in the meeting to be held on May 29, the managing member said.

“The construction has begun and it indicates that the GPS mapping report has already been received by the OBCC. They should have revealed the contents of the report in different forums. Devotees should be assured that there is not any hidden treasure under the Mutt before any kind of construction begins,” said Srimandir Managing Committee member, Madhaba Pujapanda.

Meanwhile, the OBCC superintendent Prabhat Kumar Panigrahi said that the Sri Jagannath Reception Centre and library are being constructed based on the report. He also clarified that the GPS mapping did not find the remains of any such secret treasure or artefacts.

“We are constructing AJRC and Raghunandan Library 100 metres away from Emar Mutt. We are currently undertaking excavation works for construction of basement and foundation of the structure. We have checked the mapping report. There is no hidden treasure under the mutt. So we have started constructing the structure,” Panigrahi clarified.

It is pertinent to mention here that a day after a portion of the boundary wall of Emar Mutt collapsed following heavy rains in the pilgrim city, the municipality’s staff razed the unsafe parts of the age-old Mutt building on August 10, 2017.

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