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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Wednesday briefed the Director General (DG) of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about the alleged violation to the structural safety norms of Puri Jagannath temple (Srimandir) during the ongoing works for the heritage corridor.

“We all know that digging and reconstruction work at and near various monuments is currently being undertaken in Odisha in violation of the AMASR Act of 1958. As per the act, 100 metres area adjacent to any monument or temple is considered prohibited area. No construction work can be undertaken in that area,” said Sarangi.

“Similarly the area within 100 metres to 200 metres around the temple is known as regulated area. Some construction work could be undertaken within the area after taking permission from the National Monument Authority. However, in gross violation of the act, the Odisha government has undertaken digging activities within the prohibited and regulated areas of Srimandir. A lot of damage has been done to the 12th century shrine in the process,” said Sarangi.

The Parliamentarian also expressed her concerns that the ancient temple has developed cracks due to the ongoing work.

DG, ASI Vidyavathi had visited the temple in the first week of March this year. After making a thorough observation and discussion with various authorities, she had ordered the temple officials to send a fresh revised detailed project report in congruence with AMASR Act.

“No State government has the power to violate the act which has been passed by the Parliament. However, the Odisha government has violated the act and undertaken many construction activities in the prohibited and regulated areas around Srimandir causing a lot of damage to the temple. I met ASI DG Vidyavathi and discussed the prevailing situation at Puri Srimandir,” said Sarangi, adding that she will raise the issue in the Parliament.

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