Bagala Dharmasala Land Not Sold To Private Lodge Owners: Puri Collector

Puri: Amid the row over the sale of Bagala Dharmasala land along the Grand Road (Bada Danda) in Puri, the district administration on Saturday claimed that the land has not been sold to the private lodge owners.

“It is wrong to say that Bagala Dharmasala land has been sold to private lodge owners. The Bagala Dharmasala building has not been allotted to anybody. It is pertinent to mention that only 12% of total area related to Bagala Dharmasala premises has been utilized to rehabilitate sevayats/persons who have given their land, which is in very close vicinity of the Srimandir, that is within the 75-metre corridor,” the district collector’s office stated in a release.

It further said that the persons who have given away their land are mostly the sevayats, including those of Bhitara Sevayat Nijog who have been residing and utilizing this land (donated) and serving the Lord for centuries. It is because of the appeal by the government and their devotion towards the Lord that they donated the land to the temple for the Heritage Corridor Project. In fact, they have sacrificed centuries-old land for the temple project.

Stating that the Bagala Dharmasala land, which is recorded in the name of Revenue & Disaster Management Department, was previously recorded in the name of Lodging House Fund Committee, the collector’s office informed that the state government has rehabilitated some of them on the land, as per the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy.

“The rehabilitation policy has been approved by the State Cabinet and the same is being executed to ensure the security of the temple, increase in capacity as well as the provision of better quality accommodation for pilgrims so that Puri emerges as a world heritage centre. It is important that we acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices made by the Sevayats donating their centuries-old land properties for the cause of Srimandir and the state government has approved and implemented R & R Policy for their appropriate rehabilitation,” it pointed out.

The Bagala Dharmasala has been running a lodge with a capacity of 200 pilgrims and the state government is already in the process of constructing a pilgrim centre/lodge with a capacity of 2000 for poor pilgrims and is going to add lodging capacity of 8000 for poor pilgrims in Puri.

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