Mrunal Manmay Dash

A proposal has been floated at the Srimandir Managing Committee for two underground roads or underpasses near Puri Badadanda (Grand Road) for the convenience of devotees as well as for the movement of local residents.

While there is a proposal to construct two underground roads from Sri Krishna Cinema Square to Dolabedi corner and from Dolabedi corner to Badachhata Mutt, questions have been raised about how they will be constructed.

Currently, check-gates have been put up at the corner of Dolabedi square. The check-gates remain closed when devotees head towards the shrine from the office of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA). As a result, whether it is the devotees returning from the north gate of the Temple or the local residents, they all get stuck for a long time.

According to the managing committee members, there have been proposals for underground roads at two places here. Meanwhile, devotees have expressed apprehension that digging for the road could pose a threat to the temple.

“It is only a proposal that came in one of the managing committee meetings. It is only in the discussion phase. It needs more study and survey. There is a lot of time before it gets implemented,” said a Srimandir Managing Committee member, Durga Das Mohapatra.

“While the underpass will provide devotees the much-needed protection from scorching heat, a deep excavation near the Srimandir might weaken its foundation too,” a devotee feared.

Meanwhile, senior servitors have raised questions about the construction of an underground road at Badadanda. There is a demand that as Rath Yatra takes place every year on Badadanda, the underpass should be done on the other side instead. Meanwhile, the Temple's development administrator said that the proposal will be discussed in the future.

“The proposed underpass is not feasible on Badadanda. Rath Yatra is held every year on Badadanda where three huge Chariots roll on it. There are other rituals held all year long on the Badadanda. So it will not be possible to construct an underpass here. If the government wants, it can go for it at Sridanda,” opined senior servitor, Vinayak Das Mohapatra.

“There is no provision for an underpass yet. We have it on our agenda though. But no discussion is held on it yet,” said Srimandir Development Administrator, Pradeep Sahu.

Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said the proposal has not been finalised.

Asked about the proposed underpasses, ASI Superintendent DB Garnayak said, “There was a proposal to make an over-the-ground structure for the movement of the devotees. But it is in the prohibited area. Whatever structure we make in the area, it will hamper the view of the Temple. So we proposed to make an underpass instead, so that the devotees can move easily and there will not be any hindrances in having darshan of the Srimandir from Badadanda. But nothing has been finalised yet.”

  • Reported by: