Puri: Religious scholars, politicians, social activists and common people have welcomed the state government’s decision to spend Rs 500 crore for the development of the Holy City.
However, they urged the Chief Minister to take necessary steps to ensure proper implementation of various projects announced for the city.
Locals and social activists have pleaded for a mechanism to monitor the implementation of projects to be taken up by the state government.
Heritage expert Surendra Mishra said the Holy City will attract more devotees and tourists from across the globe if the new developmental projects are implemented properly. “Locals will have to make certain sacrifices for the development of Puri as a heritage city. Their sacrifices must not go in vain,” he added.
Mishra has also urged the state government to install a statue of Bishara Mohanty, a legendary devotee of Lord Jagannath, here. “Bishara Mohanty had made a lot of sacrifices to safeguard Jagannath culture. The Chief Minister has invoked Mohanty while seeking sacrifices from Puri people for development of the city. Till date, no step has been taken to install a statue of Mohanty in Puri,” he rued.
Puri MLA Jayanta Sarangi welcomed the government’s decision. However, he urged the government to consider the views of locals, intellectuals, Srimandir servitors, mutt pontiffs and shopkeepers before implementing various projects.
“The state government should not coerce anybody to obey its decisions. It should opt for public hearing to implement developmental projects in city,” said the legislator.
Srikhetra Matha Mandira Samiti president Ramcharan Das Maharaj thanked the government for announcing the Rs 500-crore package for Puri city. He, however, pleaded for the preservation of ancient mutts in the city. “Mutts are the part and parcel of Jagannath culture. Steps should be taken to preserve the mutts and other heritage structures having close links with Srimandir,” he added.
Odisha Yuva Chetana Sangathan president Badri Mishra too welcomed the special package for Puri but urged the state government to form a committee of local intellectuals for the proper implementation of developmental projects. “Several hundred crores had been sanctioned for the city earlier. But, the desired benefits have been a far cry largely due to irregularities in project work,” he claimed.
Youth leader and Srikhetra Surakhya Bahini convener Swadhin Kumar Panda pleaded for formation of a monitoring committee for the projects. “The state government had also announced a package for Puri during the Nabakalebara festival. However, the package failed to solve the civic issues,” he claimed.
BJD state secretary Shubhasis Khuntia said the Chief Minister is trying to make Puri the No-1 city in India. “The people of the city should wholeheartedly support the government’s initiative,” he added.