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Devbrat Patnaik

Puri: Ever since Odisha was born as a separate State (Utkal Pradesh), no Chief Minister had shown interest to develop Puri as a world heritage site or construct a security zone around Sri Jagannath Temple. It is actually surprising to see CM Naveen Patnaik showing so much interest for the heritage corridor, said Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb.

Addressing public at the Sri Jagannath Chetana Gabesana Pratisthan's annual day event, the Puri King stated, "Incidents which never happened earlier, are happening now. Since the formation of Utkal Pradesh, no government had expressed concerns for Srimandir or the pilgrim city as a whole. We know former CM Janaki Ballav Patnaik was knowledgeable and well informed about the Jagannath culture. But such things didn't happen during his period. It's surprising to see the devotion and spirituality born in Naveen Babu."

He further said, "I welcome the move of the government but only time will tell what shape it takes. Apart from development of Puri, the government should also take steps to better other aspects including conduct of temple rituals, hassle-free darshan of devotees and Srimandir reforms."

"I think whatever happens is deliberately designed by Mahaprabhu Jagannath and no power can change that," expressed the King.

The Odisha government, in its attempt to ensure safety and security of the 12th-century shrine, has decided to evict people and demolish all structures within 75-metre radius of its boundary wall. CM Naveen has also announced a Rs 500-crore special package for developing the temple town into a world heritage site.

As per plans, many mutts would be redefined, and many heritage structures and lakes in Puri such as Sweta Ganga, Markanda, Narendra and Indradyumna tank will also be renovated. The chief minister has issued directions for completion of work in two years.

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