Bhubaneswar: Khurda Collector Sanat Kumar Mohanty has urged the National Monuments Authority (NMA) to withdraw the heritage bylaws framed for Lingaraj Temple in the Odisha capital.
The draft rules impose restrictions on construction and development works around a shrine.
In the letter, the collector mentioned about habitations (Sahis) around the 11th-century temple and said that sevayats families, who have been rendering services to the Lord, are likely to be severely and adversely affected by this draft notification and should be consulted before any process to restrict their rights is undertaken by NMA.
“This is also important as any adverse impact on Sevayats have a direct bearing on continuity of Niti Kanti (rituals) of Lord Lingaraj,” he wrote.
Notably, the Odisha government had cleared structures on 75-metre radius of the temple to develop a heritage corridor under the Ekamra Khestra project. The draft heritage bylaws have dealt a blow to this effort, which has hit a roadblock following ASI’s objection to use of JCB for digging the heritage site.
The NMA recently released the proposed heritage bylaws for Jagannath temple, Ananta Basudeva and Brahmeswar temples, defining various zones for their conservation and periphery development. The draft bylaws for Ananta Basudev covers a section of the Lingaraj Temple in its regulated zone, those for Brahmeswar have Bhaskareswar and Megheswar temples within 300-metre radius.
On February 8, the Centre withdrew the draft heritage bylaws for Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri after Odisha strongly opposed any such move. Earlier that day, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a quick visit to the 12th-century shrine and asserted that nobody can stop the good works of the Lord Jagannath.
On Tuesday, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said that only draft heritage bylaws for Sri Jagannath temple in Puri have been withdrawn and the same for Ananta Basudev and Brahmeswar temples in Ekamra Kshetra of Bhubaneswar continue to remain in force.