Political Faceoff on Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor Heats Up; BJP Slams State Govt

The political hue and cry over the construction around the Puri Jagannath temple under the Srimandir Parikrama project is getting worse by the day. BJP National Spokesperson Sambit Patra slammed the state government over the construction activities around the Jagannath temple on Wednesday. Holding Lord Jagannath’s statue, Patra protested in Puri. He visited the temple and offered puja.

The state government has adopted a “kalapahadiya” mentality to destroy the temple. He visited the construction site of the project and appealed to refrain from it. He also targeted Puri MP PInaki Mishra on this issue. Patra said Mishra told lies in the Lok Sabha that only four toilets were being built in the protected area of the Jagannath Temple.

Responding to the allegation, the ruling BJD said that Patra is saying it is a drama over the project. BJD spokesperson Pratap Dev asked whether Sambit ever visited Puri before contesting the election or if he ever raised Jagannath and any other issue before. “Now, he is doing politics by holding Jagannath just like he was born in Puri. The government would act in accordance with the court’s decision,” he said.

Patra said, “I pray before Lord Jagannath to give some good sense to the Odisha government and also to MP Pinaki Mishra. This government has destroyed our heritage. The Archeological Survey of India’s report is a shocker. I am not going to stay silent anymore. I want to ask the State government why it is violating the rules laid by the competent authorities.”

Dev said, “Patra is doing drama to stay in the limelight. Whatever Sambit Patra is saying is a drama. He is doing all this to be in the limelight. He is doing politics in the name of Lord Jagannath.”

Congress also targeted the state government saying both the state government and Sambit Patra are politicizing the project. The House committee was not allowed to inspect the site. On the other hand, Speaker of Odisha Assembly Surya Narayan Patra said that the matter is in High Court, the Congress party alleged.

Santosh Singh Saluja, Congress MLA said, “ASI denied permission. If there is no ASI permission, how the construction work is going on. If there will be any damage who will take the responsibility. The state govt should take the approval of ASI for the corridor. House Committee should inspect the site”

“The House Committee has formed over the Corridor as per the direction of the Odisha Assembly. The matter is in the Orissa High Court. ASI has also submitted its report. As the Speaker, after considering all aspects the House Committee will convene.” said Speaker Surya Narayan Patra.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in its affidavit filed in the Orissa High Court, said no valid permission or no-objection certificate (NOC) has been given to the ongoing construction work around Jagannath Temple in Puri. But the state government has said that the High Court has not asked to stop the Project work.

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