‘Misinformation & Blatant Lies’: Jagannath Temple Sevayats Move HC Over Puri Heritage Corridor Project

Cuttack: Amid the allegations of illegality in the implementation of the Puri Heritage Corridor Project, five senior servitors of Jagannath Temple have moved the Orissa High Court, seeking early completion of the ongoing work.

The petitioners -Raghunath Gochhikar, Hajuri Krushna Chandra Khuntia, Binayak Das Mohapatra, Harekrushna Khuntia and Batakrushna Modra– said that while all Sevayat Nijogas are enthusiastic about the project, a group of people led by self-seeking leaders are spreading misinformation and lies to create obstacles in the implementation of the project.

“Under the project, the state government is establishing various amenities for Sevayats and pilgrims such as cloakrooms, pavilions, male and female toilets, separate Sevayat toilets, etc. These works are for the improvement of the conditions of the temple, the lives of the Sevayats, and the experience of the pilgrims who flock from all over the world,” they said in the petition.

The petitioners prayed the court to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to permit and cooperate with the state government to complete the ‘Parikrama Prakalpa’ as expeditiously as possible.

Odisha Government, ASI, Chief Administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration and Puri Collector have been made parties in the petition.

On May 9, the ASI informed the Orissa High Court that no valid permission or no-objection certificate (NOC) has been given to the ongoing construction work around the 12th-century shrine in Puri. There is every possibility that the construction agency OBCC during the excavation and removal of the earth might have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site, it added.

The state government has been asked to submit its reply to the ASI affidavit by June 20, and the next hearing on the matter has been posted for June 22.

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