Odisha: Konark Heritage Development Plan Draws Mixed Reactions From Locals
Konark: The heritage project for beautification of world-famous Konark temple and its periphery evoked mixed responses from the local residents of the ancient city who urged the State government to resolve their issues prior to undertaking the mega project.
The residents demanded that along with the development of Konark, the government must resolve the land issue which they believe is the main hindrance to their development.
Residents of 8 mouzas around Konark who have been living there for decades do not have land deeds. They fear if they are displaced now for the development project, they will be deprived of government benefits under the rehabilitation due to lack of valid land records.
“We welcome the development plan, but at the same time we want the government to take measures for rehabilitation of those living in the area for a long time. The government must help them to ensure roof on their heads first under government scheme. The Chief Minister should personally look into this,” said Upendra Kandi, president of Konark Nagar Congress.
“The development of infrastructure around Konark Sun Temple to attract more tourists is a welcome step. However, issues related to land of those living in eight mouzas here for three generations are also very crucial. The government should at least settle the land issue in Konark area and then go ahead with the project,” said Rajkishore Mohapatra, a local intellectual.
Apart from the land issue, residents of Konark also opined in favour of expansion of the old town by relocating Konark helipad.
As per the development plan, all the roads leading to the temple will be developed into six-lane, especially the 3.5 Km long outer ring road of Konark. The 30 acres of land in front of the temple will be left open for landscaping. Besides, a special stretch of road will also be constructed for pedestrians.
An entry plaza for the visitors and a renovated open air theatre are going to be some major attractions for tourists.
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The Chief Minister has invited suggestions from citizens regarding the draft plan within 21 days.
Tusharkanti Behera, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister has said, “The development of Konark Temple and its periphery will not only benefit the local residents living in its vicinity, but also attract tourists from across India and abroad.”
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)