Other States

ASI report triggers massive political controversy in Odisha

BJP Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi during a ‘padayatra’ to Jagannath Temple demanding a halt in construction near the temple without prior permission from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other competent authorities, in Puri, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

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After Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) intimated that the ongoing ₹800 crore-Shree Mandir Parikrama Project around Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, had no sanction of any competent authority, Opposition political parties stepped up their attack on the Naveen Patnaik government.

Leading the Opposition attack, Bhubaneswar Member of Parliament Aparajita Sarangi said, “After filing of ASI’s affidavit before Orissa High Court, I am convinced that Lord Jagannath is trying to save himself and his temple from an elected State government, which is hell bent upon brazenly defying the law.”

“After filing of ASI’s affidavit before Orissa High Court, I am convinced that Lord Jagannath is trying to save himself and his temple from an elected State government, which is hell bent upon brazenly defying the law”Aparajita SarangiBJP MP

In a report submitted to Orissa High Court, the ASI had informed that there was every possibility of the ongoing excavation near the 12th-century Jagannath Temple, Puri, causing destruction to the archaeological remains at the heritage site.

“So much of public money is being spent on forcibly creating infrastructure which could easily be created beyond 100 metres. If the structures are declared illegal tomorrow who will be responsible for wastage of hundreds of crore of rupees which is the hard earned money of Odias?” Ms. Sarangi asked.

‘Assault on heritage’

In New Delhi, Sambit Patra, national spokesperson of BJP, said, “The content of ASI’s joint inspection report is matter of grave concern. Every Odia should be worried about the State government’s arrogance.”

“The Shree Jagannath Temple is heritage for Odias. If we have destroyed our archaeological remnants, who should be held responsible for it? The government had carried out similar misadventure around Lingaraj Temple. We had drawn attention of the government. Now, the space around the Lingaraj temple have proved to be archaeological treasure and statues of seventh century have been discovered,” said Mr. Patra.

The BJP spokesperson said it was a black-day for all Odias as the State government had carried out an assault on the rich Odia heritage.

Similarly, veteran BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra blamed both ASI and State government for the fiasco. “Why did ASI stay silent when such blatant violation took place? The ASI should have pressed for an order to stop illegal construction.”

Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra said a House Committee, constituted to examine violation around Shree Jagannath Temple, was yet to visit the place.


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Printable version | May 10, 2022 11:31:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/asi-report-triggers-massive-political-controversy-in-odisha/article65401018.ece