Odisha CM criticised over demolition of heritage structures

March 02, 2021 04:40 am | Updated 04:40 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

Aparajita Sarangi. File Photo.

Aparajita Sarangi. File Photo.

The controversy over development around temples in Odisha continues to rage as Bharatiya Janata Party MP Aparajita Sarangi has come down heavily on the Naveen Patnaik government saying development cannot be taken up at the cost of centuries old heritage structures.

“In the name of beautification, some of the most sacred mutts of Puri such as Emar Matha, Mangu Matha, Languli Matha, Uttar Parshwa Matha and Dakshin Parswa Matha have been demolished and razed on to the ground,” said Ms .Sarangi in a strongly worded letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

She said, “I would be very keen to know which heritage conservationist was monitoring and guiding the reckless demolition using heavy earth moving machineries in extremely sensitive zones.”

The BJP MP, who a member of standing committee on urban development, wondered how replacement of invaluable monuments with manicured lawns, fountains and toilets is going to enhance the spiritual experience of visitors coming to pray to Lord Jagannath.

Dismissing argument that the heritage development in Puri and Bhubaneswar was simply following the path of ‘Kashi Biswanath Heritage Corridor’, Ms Sarangi said the demolition between the temple in Kashi and the Ganga Ghat in Varanasi only covered residential buildings and commercial shops and no heritage structures had been destroyed.

On the invitation of Archaeological Survey of India, the BJP national spokesperson visited the areas around Lingaraj temple - the site of current excavation - on Monday.

She said that many heritage structures were lying underneath- in the prohibited zone.

Despite frontal attack on massive infrastructure development planned around 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri and 11th Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar, the State government renewed demolition of structures after a hiatus. which is situated in front of Jagannath Temple.

While presenting heritage corridor plan in the State Assembly, CM Mr. Patnaik had sought cooperation of all stakeholders to execute different projects.

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