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Ramakanta Biswas

Puri: After targeting the Odisha government on NMA bylaws, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Saturday termed bulldozing of some age-old mutts around the Puri Jagannath temple as illegal and sought clarification from the State government.

Speaking on the sideline of a free eye treatment camp organised by 'Centre for Action in Puri', Sarangi expressed disappointment over demolishing of Emar mutt, Raghunandan library, Uttar Parswa Mutt, Dakhin Parswa mutt and other monuments and said development of Srimandir should be done as per the NMA and ASI guidelines.

She said, as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (or AMASR Act) 1958, no new works can be undertaken in prohibited area within 100 metres radius of the Srimandir. However, various heritage monuments under the 75 metres of the temple were demolished in the name of beautification and development.

“On behalf of the people of Odisha, I want to ask the State government whether detailed mapping was conducted before razing the mutts. Most importantly, whether the permission of the National Monument Authority (NMA) and ASI was taken before razing the mutts,” she questioned.

“The culture and heritage of people should not be invaded by carrying out such unlawful activities, because, this is the property of the people of Odisha,” she said.

The MP demanded clarification from the Odisha government for carrying out such ‘unlawful activities’ around Srimandir.

Sarangi also opined that priority should be given to the health and welfare of servitors of Jagannath temple.

“I have held discussion with servitors. About 10,000 members of nearly 2522 servitor families are facing various problems. I don’t understand why any significant step has not been taken for their health and education so far,” Sarangi said.

Stating that the servitors are doing social work by devoting their lives for the service of Lord Jagannath and his devotees, Sarangi said it is the responsibility of the government to announce special packages for them.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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