Puri: A fresh case has been filed in connection with the controversial Heritage Corridor project at the 800-year-old Jagannath Temple here, which is being carried out by the Odisha government allegedly without permission from the competent authorities.
A court in Odisha’s Puri district Friday issued notices to the Ministry of Culture, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and eight other parties seeking their stand on the alleged illegality in the construction work of the project which “might have caused damage to the temple”.
Civil Judge (Senior Division) PK Routray issued the notices on a writ petition filed by the Puri Lawyers’ Association seeking an injunction to the construction work within the “prohibited zone” of the 12th-century shrine.
The court also issued notices to National Monument Authority (NMA), Puri Municipality, Puri district collector, the Temple Management Committee, Odisha Bridge & Construction Corporation, which is executing the project, and others.
It directed the respondents to file their replies and fixed the next date of hearing on June 26.
This is the third court case on the controversial heritage corridor project.
A few days ago, the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s (SDJM) court directed the police to register a case against the district collector and others. The Orissa High Court is also hearing a petition in this regard.
The ASI, which is the custodian of the temple, on May 9 informed the high court that the construction work might have caused damage to the temple and that the state government project was being carried out without valid permission from the competent authorities.
The state had informed the high court that correspondences were exchanged between the Odisha government and the NMA, which functions under the Union Ministry of Culture and is responsible for grant of permission for construction-related activity in the “prohibited and regulated” areas.
The ASI, in its report to the HC, observed that the construction work of the project is in progress within the prohibited and regulated areas of the monument.
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 cloakrooms.