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Odisha Cabinet’s Decision To Evict Structures Around Puri Sri Mandir Sparks Off Resentment

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17 August 2019


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Puri: A day after Odisha Cabinet accorded its seal of approval to implement Justice B.P. Das Commission’s recommendation for removal of structures around the temple up to 75 metres from the boundary wall on all around, it has sparked off reactions among the denizens here in this pilgrim city.

Soon after the significant Cabinet Meeting yesterday evening, the State Government has authorized Puri Collector to initiate a series of actions including survey, demarcation and acquisition of the required land. The State Government has also taken decision for creating a redevelopment plan for the rehabilitation of the affected persons including institutions as well as the vendors.

Visitor Bijay Pradhan from Konark reacted, “Because of the safety and security of Sri Mandir as well as of the tourists, the eviction must be done. But, it ought to be done in a legitimate manner. The persons to be evicted should be rehabilitated first.”

In his reactions, vendor Bhagirathy Prusty warned, “The decision taken is extremely unfortunate. Lots of people will turn unhappy. They will go wayward. Hence, the Government should be well aware of it. Last year there had been violence here. The Government shouldn’t take it easy and relax.”

He argued, “Whatever has been evicted earlier is still lying idle. No developmental work has been done yet, for instance, Jagannath Ballav. Also spent Rs 27 lakh or Rs 27 crore near Atharanala, but it’s of no use. Not a single activity undertaken by the Government is satisfactory. It is only meant for siphoning funds.”

He further argued, “Same is the case with the Urban Haat. No one has been benefitted. All the activities by the Government are unsuccessful. If in future planning for eviction here, it should be done in a proper manner looking after the rehabilitation side first.”     

Bhagirathy Prusty along with his father Ram Chandra Prusty deals in chudi, sindoor, etc. near the Jaganath Temple.

Same are the reactions of lots of others.

On the contrary, Puri Collector Balwant Singh said, “After receiving the details of Cabinet decision, I could be able to comment on the matter. Yesterday we surveyed the structures near the boundary wall of the temple. Details on it and where would be the offices shifted. Also we inspected where to construct toilet and make arrangements for drinking water facilities. We visited there with the concerned departments to inspect all the basic facilities and services required. Last night’s exercise was in that direction. However, I can comment further after receiving the details of the Cabinet decision.”

In his reactions, Puri SP Umashankar Dash said, “We’ll take all sorts of precautions. Whatever steps are being taken keeping in view the safety and security of Sri Mandir, both police administration and district administration will jointly take actions. Our ultimate objective is Sri Mandir’s safety and security. No compromise in this respect.”

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Vox Pop, Puri

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Balwant Singh, Collector, Puri

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Umashankar Dash, SP, Puri