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Puri Shankaracharya slams Odisha govt over Jagannath temple project

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Bhubaneswar, May 26 (Ajit Weekly News) Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Wednesday criticised the Odisha government over the ongoing Shree Mandir Parikrama Prakalp (heritage corridor project) around Jagannath temple in Puri.

Raising voice against the project, the Puri seer said: “We support development but we are not in favour of elimination of existence of pilgrim sites in the name of development. Mutts are being demolished in the name of widening of roads which is not acceptable.”

The idols of the deities were also evicted and the process is still underway. It will invite the ire of the deities and the people of this state will face the consequences, the seer said while addressing media persons in Puri.

Shankaracharya, who met all stakeholders and political parties on Tuesday, said the temple should not be turned into a picnic spot in the name of the beautification project.

Stating Puri is the pilgrimage capital of Odisha, the Shankaracharya said the government should not turn this Tapobhumi into a Bhogobhumi. The Puri beach has already turned into a hub for drunkers.

It is the responsibility of the state administration to ensure that a place of pilgrimage is not converted into a centre of amusement and pleasure, he said.

“A secular administration can only extend cooperation in affairs related to religious places but can’t take and execute decisions. The Prime Minister and Odisha Chief Minister should pay attention to the fact that Puri is being distorted in the name of development,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) sought cooperation from all quarters for early completion of the project in view of the upcoming Rath Yatra and monsoon.

BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said that the project was prepared and recommended by the Srimandir Managing Committee. Firstly, the plan was prepared and kept in public domain for the opinion of people and various organisations. Thereafter, the plan was recommended by the Managing Committee, he said.

The project then came to the state government which could have approved it. Instead, it decided to take it to the people of Odisha in the state Legislative Assembly. There the plan was passed unanimously by all MLAs without any opposition, said Mohanty.

He further claimed that after approval of the plan, it was sent to the National Monuments Authority (NMA) which approved the proposal.

“After approval of the NMA, the foundation stone was laid for the project. ASI gave certain suggestions which were duly incorporated and modifications done accordingly,” said the BJD leader.

–Ajit Weekly News
bbm/pgh

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