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Opposing the decision of Odisha government to relocate the warrior-horse replica from Master Canteen Square to Raj Bhawan Square in Bhubaneswar, the Odisha unit of Congress staged a peaceful demonstration near the iconic sculpture here on Friday. 

Dozens of Congress workers including the members of its students, youth & women wing led by the Bhubaneswar City Congress Committee President Biswajit Das assembled near the sculpture holding placards and sloganeered against the alleged unilateral decision of the Culture Department. The agitators threatened to intensify the stir if the decision was not revoked at the earliest.

It may be noted that the sculpture has been adopted by the Odisha government as its emblem. 

The iconic replica of the famous sculpture of Sun Temple at Konark carved by Padma Vibhushan late Raghunath Mohapatra will soon be relocated to the vicinity of Governor House at Raj Bhawan Square to pave the way for a Rs 80-crore Smart Janpath project. The project is a part of the Capital City's Smart City Mission.

The Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) had proposed the relocation of the sculpture as part of the development works near Master Canteen. The decision to shift the stone work was approved at a meeting chaired by the Director of Culture Ranjan Das on June 8, said officials.

"The horse is not a mere stone sculpture. This is the symbol of the Odisha government. There is nothing smart in the city. Water logging still persists in many areas, roads have not been developed and sewerage system also remains the same. The concerned officials should focus on those issues instead of shifting the horse statue. The flyover can be constructed here without harming the statue," said party's senior leader and Jatani MLA, Sura Routray.

"The Chief Minister only listens to the Bihari, Telugu & Tamil bureaucrats in his office. I request him to listen to the appeal of the people of the State and cancel the plan to relocate the sandstone sculpture," appealed Routray.

The Congress members also submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Secretary.

The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) had built the sculpture in the year 1988.

Sources said that Bhubaneswar Development Authority will constitute a panel and undertake process for the shifting the statue in a month.

It may be mentioned here that despite being a landmark in the State Capital city of Bhubaneswar, the sculpture continues to wallow neglected without proper maintenance.

(Edited By Ramakant Biswas)

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