Puri Jagannath Temple Admn Urges Centre To Withdraw Draft Heritage Bylaws
Puri: Taking a serious note of resentment among the sevayats over heritage bylaws for the Jagannath temple published by the National Monument Authority (NMA), the temple administration on Sunday urged the Ministry of Culture to immediately withdraw the draft notification.
In a letter to the member secretary, NMA, chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration Krishan Kumar said a large number of habitations (Sahis) around the temple, which are more than a millennium old, belong to sevayat families who have been rendering services to the Lords since time immemorial.
“As the sevayats are likely to be severely affected by any intervention of the authorities like the draft notification, they must be consulted before any process to restrict their rights is undertaken by the NMA,” he pointed out.
Kumar also said any adverse impact on the sevayats will have a direct bearing on the continuity of the rituals of the Lord. As a large number of devotees from across India visit Puri for darshan of the Lords every day, it a statutory duty and responsibility of Shree Jagannath Temple Management Committee (SJTMC) to make arrangements for amenities and facilities for them.
Kumar said the state government has recently acquired the land and properties for strengthening safety and security of the century-old shrine for the project of Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor (SJHC) which will also provide facilities such as drinking water, toilets, cloak rooms and Queue Management System (QMS) to the pilgrims.
“The acquisition of the properties has been possible as the people, who have deep religious and spiritual connection with the Lord, agreed to part with their ancestral properties for the comforts of millions of devotees who visit Puri to have darshan of the Lord,” he said.
Any regulation that has the potential to restrict the development of facilities and amenities on land voluntarily contributed by the devotees of the Lord will hurt their sentiments, he added.
Requesting the Ministry to immediately withdraw the draft notification under reference to protect the interest of the Lords, sevayats and the devotees, Kumar said if the NMA is still of the view that any further regulatory framework of any nature is required to protect and further the cause of the ‘Mula Peetha’ (original shrine) of the Lord, it should have a detailed consultation and discussion with members of SJTMC before any such fresh attempt is made.