Union Culture Minister Replies To Bhubaneswar MP On Civic Amenities Around Puri Jagannath Temple

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister of Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy has said basic civic amenities can be constructed in restricted areas around Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri town.

The minister stated this in a written reply to the questions raised by Odisha’s Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi in the Lok Sabha during zero hour.

Reddy, in his reply, said the structures for providing basic facilities including water supply, toilets, power supply and drainage system can be constructed in the restricted areas around Jagannath Temple for convenience of the devotees coming to the Pilgrim Town.

Aparajita has been vehemently opposing the Srimandir Parikrama (heritage corridor) project on the ground that the state government has not obtained requisite permission from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monument Authority (NMA) to carry out construction works within 100-metre of restricted area around the temple.

After the Supreme Court (SC) rejected two petitions challenging the project on June 3, the BJP leader had said the NMA has not given any NOC and the letter conveying “no objection” was a “conditional one”. But the state government has not fulfilled those conditions.

On the ASI’s submission before the SC that it has no objection to construction being carried out strictly in conformity with the provisions of law, she said, “It is not very clear whether the works are being carried out strictly in conformity with the provisions of law. The requirement of having a Heritage Impact Assessment, prior survey through ground penetrating radar, etc., have not been done and it is public knowledge. Constructions were carried out without prior approval of the ASI.”

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