Centre objects Lingaraj Temple ordinance, seeks clarification from Odisha Govt

Bhubaneswar: The Central Government had raised objection over the Lingaraj Temple ordinance of the Odisha Government and sought a clarification in this regard.

Odisha Governor’s office on March 31 forwarded a letter of the Union Home Ministry dated March 23 to Odisha Chief Secretary as the ministry has sought requisite comments/ clarifications of the Odisha Government in order to process the ordinance further.

The observations made by the Central Government are being studied and will be complied with soon, reports said.

The Centre in its letter said that the Odisha Government’s ordinance to bring the Lingaraj Temple and other temples associated with it under a special law is outside the “legislative competence” of the state legislature and could lead to conflict with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.

The ordinance, which was approved by the Odisha Cabinet in December 2020, proposes to govern the Lingaraj Temple complex with a separate law, similar to that of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.

As per the ordinance, the Lingaraj Temple and 8 other associated temples will be under the control of a 15-member committee with a senior Hindu IAS officer as its administrator. Presently, the temple is governed by the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1951.

However, the Union Home Ministry has said that the several sections of the proposed ordinance are in conflict with the AMASR Act. The ministry also mentioned that the State Government has violated the AMASR Act by constructing modern structures around the Lingaraj Temple.

Worth mentioning, the Odisha Government had in 2019 unveiled the Ekamra Kshetra Development Project for development and beautification of the shrine.

The Centre said that nine protected monuments and three centrally protected tanks in the Lingaraj Temple complex governed by the AMASR Act have been brought under the purview of the ordinance. Dual administrative authorities would result in continuous conflict, it said.

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