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Rashmi Ranjan

Bhubaneswar: The National Monuments Authority (NMA) has drafted bylaws for the centrally protected monument Shri Jagannath Temple and its subsidiary shrines in Puri.

The draft has been framed by the NMA as per Section 20(E) of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2010 and Rule 18 of National Monuments Authority (Appointment, Function and Conduct of Business) Rules, 2011.

Here are the details of the NMA Heritage Bylaws for Puri Srimandir:

- The draft proposes the 100 metre area around the Srimandir to be declared as ‘prohibited area’ where no constructions can be carried out, either by government or private agencies.

- A further 200 metre in all directions around the temple to be declared as ‘regulated area’ where construction is not prohibited, but must be approved by the NMA.

- While, 9.7 acres of the 12th-century shrine designated as a protected area, 37.061 acres along 'Meghanad Pacheri' is prohibited area whereas the regulated area is 138.385 acre.

- The NMA has also identified eight other structures- Sankhachakra temple, Mahavira temple, Timei matha, Trinatha temple, Kapalamochana temple,  Sweta Ganga Puskarini and Maa Chamunda temple as archaeological heritage remains in the pilgrim town.

-The NMA has also suggested making the prohibited and regulated zones plastic-free and hawker/vendor-free zones.

Notably, similar heritage bylaws have been drafted for two temples - Brahmeswar and Ananta Basudev, located in the Ekamra Kshetra heritage site in Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, Puri Collector Samarth Verma said the draft heritage bylaws is being thoroughly reviewed.

"NMA heritage bylaws for Srimandir will be reviewed thoroughly and suggestions on the draft will be sought from Jagannath Temple Administration, district authorities, PKDA, servitors and other stakeholders. Later, steps will be taken accordingly," Verma said.

On the other hand, Srimandir servitors have opposed the draft heritage bylaws.

"The heritage bylaws will affect the servitors, people associated with temple and rituals at Srimandir. We will raise the matter during the discussion and appear before the NMA," said     Rajat Patihari, senior servitor.

Senior servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra informed reporters that sevayat groups might knock doors of Supreme Court in connection with the matter.

"Daitapati and Bhitara Sebayat Nijogs will approach Supreme Court for legal intervention over the NMA proposal. If necessary, I might also move the apex court," said Dasmohapatra.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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