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India

BJP Vs BJP In Odisha As Sambit Patra Opposes MLA On Puri Temple Project

The BJP MLA's statement was in contrast to senior BJP leaders such as Mr Patra and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi.

The cntroversy is over the Puri Heritage Corridor Project close to the Shree Jagannath Temple. (Photo: Twitter)

Puri: Odisha BJP MLA Jayant Sarangi has said that work under the Puri Heritage Corridor Project close to the Shree Jagannath Temple here should be completed as soon as possible and urged parties not to politicise the issue. Mr Sarangi’s statement comes days after BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra demanded that construction work in the prohibited zone of the 800-year-old temple be stopped, accusing the BJD government of carrying out the project illegally.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had on May 9 informed the Orissa High Court that the ongoing work might have caused damage to the 12th-century shrine, and the state government project was being carried out without valid permission from the competent authorities.

“It is in the interest of the temple and locals that the construction is completed without further delay. I also request parties not to politicise the corridor project issue,” the Puri MLA told reporters on Thursday. Mr Sarangi said that the ASI’s stand has delayed the project, which he has been supporting from the very beginning.

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“If it is not completed before monsoon, people of the pilgrim town would face a lot of problems in their daily activities, due to the deep pits dug around the temple for construction of different facilities,” he said. The BJP MLA’s statement was in contrast to senior BJP leaders such as Mr Patra and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi.

Mr Patra, who unsuccessfully contested the Puri Lok Sabha seat in 2019, on Wednesday accused the BJD administration of undertaking the heritage corridor project work in an “illegal” manner. Aparajita Sarangi had also demanded that the work for the project be stopped immediately after the ASI informed the high court that it had not given any permission to undertake construction work in the restricted zone of the temple.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with Puri’s titular king Gajapati Dibya Singha Deb had last year laid the foundation stone for the project, which seeks to provide better amenities to pilgrims, including toilets and cloakroom.

A PIL claiming that construction work for the project affected the health of the temple was filed in the high court, which had ordered a joint inspection of the shrine by the ASI and the state government.

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