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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

A day after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told the Orissa High Court that the excavation works undertaken by the Odisha government have damaged the archaeological remains around Puri Jagannath temple, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the State government.

In its affidavit submitted to the Orissa HC, the ASI stated that during the joint inspection followed by onsite discussions with Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation Limited (OBCC) and Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) officials, it was found that the ongoing construction work of the Srimandir Parikrama Project has no valid permission/NOC issued by the competent authorities.

The ASI feared there was every possibility that the agency (OBCC) during the excavation/soil removal might have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site.

Taking to Twitter, Sarangi shared the joint inspection report submitted by the ASI and said the wrongdoings of the State government are now crystal clear.

“The joint inspection note filed by ASI, as part of its affidavit, in Orissa High Court, is worth reading. Very meticulously prepared. It says all; the wrongdoings of State Govt are crystal clear,” tweeted Sarangi.

“After filing of ASI’s affidavit before the Hon’ble High Court, I am convinced that Lord Jagannath is trying to save Himself and His temple  from an elected State Government which is hell bent upon brazenly defying the law,” she said.

“So much of public money is being spent on forcibly creating infrastructure which could easily be created beyond 100 metres. If the structures are declared illegal tomorrow who will be responsible for wastage of hundreds of crore of rupees which is the hard earned money of Odias?” the former IAS officer asked.

Notably, the startling revelations by the ASI starkly contradict the statement made by Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb who had claimed the shrine is completely safe and the project does not pose any threat to the temple.

The ASI has made it clear before the Orissa High Court that it had not granted any permission to Odisha government to carry out the construction under the heritage project.

(Edited by Ramakant Biswas)

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