Srimandir Parikrama Project: House Committee to meet soon

Bhubaneswar: With the protest over Srimandir Parikrama project is gaining the momentum, the recently formed Srimandir House Committee will meet soon to discuss the project.

The House Committee on Srimandir Parikrama Project will be called soon, informed Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro.

“Discussion will be held with the Works Department and Law authorities to take further course of action related to the project,” he said.

Srimandir Parikrama Project can be termed as an ‘ambitious’ project of Odisha Government to transform the pilgrim town Puri into a World Heritage City. It was launched in December 2019.

However, the State Government is allegedly overlooking possible adverse effects on structural stability of the Jagannath Temple due to ongoing construction around the centuries old shrine.

The much-hyped Jagannath heritage corridor project is being carried out under the supervision of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monuments Authority (NMA). Under the project, various amenities and infrastructure around 75-metre radius of the Jagannath Temple are being developed.

Expressing concern over safety of the Jagannath Temple, opposition parties and various social outfits have been opposing the ongoing construction and digging activities around Srimandir.

Sources said that the JCBs are being used for excavation within the prohibited zone of the shrine to set up public amenities. The digging is being carried out beyond 7 metres from the Meghanad Wall, which is the buffer zone of the temple. The locals fear that the vibrations caused by the excavation may impact the structural stability of the temple.

Following continuous din by BJP and Congress members in the House during budget session of Odisha Assembly alleging violation of ASI norms in the project, the Speaker had constituted a House Committee on March 31, the last day of the session. The 8-member panel comprising of two ministers and five legislators from both ruling and opposition parties is headed by the Speaker.  However, no step was taken to stop the construction activities including digging of pits near the shrine.

Meanwhile, the matter has reached the Orissa High Court. The court had recently sought responses from the State Government and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over the project.

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