Himansu Shekhar Rout

Scores of residents, displaced by the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalp (Heritage Corridor Project) in Puri, lamented that they have not received invitations for the inauguration of the project slated to be held on January 17. They have also expressed their displeasure for not being provided identity cards meant for their entry into the temple.

As per reports, the oustees are still longing for their age-old homestead land close to Srimandir, even though they have been compensated for the loss.  

Basant Manjari Jena, one of the displaced people, bemoaned, “After losing my house and homestead land near Srimandir, I am not keeping well. Every day we used to have the darshan of Lord Jagannath. Now, we have been displaced. We will always miss the close proximity of the temple.” Basant Manjari is now living at Chhapan Chhak after building a house with the compensation fund.

Another resident Sasmita Lenka’s house was near the temple. After being evicted from there, she is residing in her new house located at Loknath Road. “My house was close to Srimandir and my family had the advantage of having darshan of the deities any time of the day. But that vantage has gone now after we relocated elsewhere. The administration has rehabilitated us at such a place that we have lost the link with the temple,” Sasmita lamented.

Like Basant Manjari and Sasmita, many others in the pilgrim city after being evicted to other places are still reminiscing about their old homestead land. 

Also Read: PIL filed over Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project inauguration 

They have also frowned upon the alleged apathy of the administration towards their sacrifice for the project. The administration has not even thought it wise to extend an invitation to them to attend the inauguration ceremony, they lamented.

“All displaced people had been assured of identity cards, which have not been provided till date,” they rued.
Another oustee, Krushnachandra Lenka suggested, “Our sacrifice for the project will be forgotten. There should be plaques which should display our names and addresses at the project so that people can know our sacrifice.” 

When asked, Collector Samarth Verma evaded questions about the issues of the displaced.

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