Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar/Puri: Strongly criticising the razing of structures near Puri Srimandir, senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra today slammed the Naveen-led government citing that in just seven days, it has turned Srikhetra into a Kurukshetra. He further held the demolition drive 'illegal' while referring to reports of government initiating the move based on an interim report of the BP Das Commission.

Mohapatra said, "The government doesn't have any Constitutional or legal rights to demolish the heritage structures. With several bulldozers and 20 platoons of police force, the administration razed everything in Puri."

The second thing is the government is so far clueless and has not revealed what exactly it has aimed to do post this eviction. A few people have claimed that the move has been implemented based on a report of the BP Das Commission. It's an interim report. And even before the final report was produced, the Commission's tenure ended. Neither the report has been tabled in the Assembly, nor have the details come to light. Using such an interim report of the Commission for demolition is illegal. The government should make the reports public and lay it in the Vidhan Sabha.

- Bijoy Mohapatra

The BJP veteran further stated, "During Nabakalebara, the government spent close to Rs 500 crores for development in Puri, however the details of the expenditure wasn't shared. People now were asked to sacrifice their land for Lord Jagannath so that the government will loot everything. This is unacceptable."

Former Parliamentarian Tathagata Satpathy was also of a similar opinion when criticising the move he said that no one has the right to demolish structures of historical significance. Due to such a mistake at the executive level we all have to regret in the future, the ex-BJD MP had said.

On the other hand, BJD MP Amar Patnaik rubbished the claims of Mohapatra saying that the eviction drive near Puri Srimandir is a well-planned initiative of Odisha government. "The current plan is to turn Puri into a cultural capital and investments will be made accordingly for beautification. It is a complete integrated approach for development of Puri which is based on recommendation of the Supreme Court."

Comments of Bijoy Mohapatra on the issue seems like contempt of court, Patnaik added.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Puri district administration with a 15-member team representing various stakeholders over the ongoing demolition work near Srimandir failed today after Collector Balwant Singh rejected the proposal to stop eviction drive around Srimandir. "Razing of the commercial set-ups will continue for safety and security of the temple. The team has decided to apprise Odisha CM over the issue," Singh said.

Also Read: Demolition Near Jagannath Temple: Meeting Between Puri Collector & Stakeholders Fails

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