Puri Heritage Corridor construction may have damaged Jagannath Temple : ASI to Orissa HC

New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India on Monday informed the Odisha High Court that the ongoing construction work of the Puri Heritage Corridor may have caused damage to the 800-year-old Jagganath Temple adding that the state government project is being carried out without valid permission from the competent authority, reported news agency PTI.

“There is every possibility that the construction agency OBCC (Odisha Bridge Construction Company) during the excavation and removal of the earth might have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site,” stated the ASI in its affidavit.

It further added that “the ongoing construction work of the project being carried out by the Odisha government inside the “prohibited” area of ​​the ancient monument has no valid permission or no objection certificate (NOC) from the competent authorities.”

The state had informed the Court that correspondences were exchanged between the Odisha government and the National Monuments Authority which is responsible for grant of permission for construction-related activity in the “regulated and prohibited area”.

However, ASI in its 70-page affidavit to the High Court said that the drawings and structural designs included in the revised detailed project report (DPR) are different from the ones presented to the NMA.

Hearing a PIL regarding the health of the temple, the Court asked ASI to undertake a joint inspection of the site with the state government and file a report on the same. As per the court’s order, a joint inspection was undertaken last week and the affidavit filed by ASI following the inspection stated that the OBCC managing director said that to date no permission or approval from the NMA or any competent authorities was available for structural activities and the design of the project. 

“No heritage impact assessment studies have been conducted before commencement of the project. At several locations stratified deposits of about 15 to 20 ft have taken place, which has caused irreparable damage to the heritage site”, the ASI said in its affidavit, reported the news agency.

“Cracks have appeared in the Nata Mandap of the 12th-century shrine due to these construction activities” and continued construction work will pose a threat to the structure of the temple, it said.

The petitioner has appealed to the Court to give an order to stop the construction work and for violating the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. As per the provisions of the Act, the area within 100 metres from a monument is a ‘prohibited’ zone while that within 200 metres falls under the ‘regulated’ category, the petition said.

Read More : Save traditional Mutts around Puri Jagannath Temple

A division bench headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar has asked the state government to file its reply on an affidavit submitted by ASI and listed the matter to be heard again on May 22.

Source : ABP Live

Stop Jagannath Heritage Corridor project, set up an expert panel for risk evaluation: VHP-backed outfit

Stop Jagannath Heritage Corridor project, set up expert panel for risk evaluation: VHP-backed outfit

Claiming that the Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor project in Puri was a grave threat to the structural stability of the ancient temple, a VHP-backed organisation on Saturday demanded that all construction activities at the site be immediately stopped and an expert committee be set up for its scientific evaluation.

The Sri Mandira Suraksha Abhiyana (SMSA), which has the support of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and other organisations, also urged the Union government to intervene in the matter, alleging that the Odisha government was implementing the project in violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASRA).

Implementation of the Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor project in Odisha is posing a grave threat to the structural stability of the ancient temple. We demand that all the ongoing activities be immediately stopped at the site and an expert committee be set up to evaluate the risks that the project poses to the ancient temple, SMSA spokesperson Anil Dhir told PTI.

He said a five-member delegation of the SMSA had on Friday called on Union Culture Minister G Krishna Reddy and gave a memorandum, apprising him about the “irregularities in the execution of the Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor project in Puri.

He said the SMSA delegation also met the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India and the Chairman of the National Monuments Authority.

“We apprised the minister of all the irregularities taking place at the project site. While the project is being implemented in violation of the AMASRA Act, the state government has not taken approval from the ASI for implementation of the project, Dhir said.

We raised the questions on the implementation of the project and the minister was very receptive, he heard us for about 40 minutes, He assured us that all steps will be taken to ensure that the work happens within the ambit of the law and the stability of the temple is protected, he added.

The SMSA spokesperson said a scientific evaluation of the project was necessary not just to avert a colossal imminent mishap but also to ensure that the structural stability of the ancient temple remains intact.

The temple is already in a dilapidated condition. Implementation of the project without a scientific evaluation of its impact on the structural stability of the temple will lead to a colossal imminent mishap, he said.

If the expert committee after its evaluation says that the implementation of the project would not cause any damage to the temple, they (the state government) can go ahead with its plan. We won’t have any problem then, he added.

Source : Odisha TV

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