Puri villagers threaten to launch protest over ‘illegal transfer’ of land

Puri: Alleging that homestead and agriculture land have been illegally recorded under the name of the deities of the Puri Srimandir, residents of the 18 villages today threatened to take to the streets if the issue is not resolved at the earliest.

Under the aegis of the Anchalika Bhusampati Surakhshya Parishad, residents of 18 villages said that they would observe black day on December 29 and form a human chain on the Puri-Bhubaneswar NH, if their land is not returned to them.

Earlier, the Parishad had gheraoed the land settlement and Srimandir office demanding return of their land.

“The demands of the villagers are not met and their land ownership is yet to be restored. Besides, their livelihood is at stake,” said Umaballav Rath, former MLA.

On the other hand, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) stated that to resolve the land dispute a uniform policy was brought in 2003 and an amendment proposal has been given to the State government in 2015.

“The temple managing committee approved the changes on September 27 and sent them to the government. As soon as the Law minister approves, the matter can be resolved” stated Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, SJTA chief administrator.