Puri: Senior BJP leader and MP Subramanian Swamy Friday said he will take up the controversial Puri Heritage Corridor issue with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
“There is a need to end the controversy. I will do whatever is possible,” Swamy told reporters after meeting Swami Nischalanand Saraswati of Govardhana Peeth in Puri earlier in the day.
“Temples hold importance in our lives. Even kings used to visit temples and share their views on issues relating to them,” the BJP leader said.
The meeting between Swamy and the Shankaracharya was held barely two days after the Govardhan Peeth seer drew the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through the media on the issue.
Swamy said the government could intervene in temple activities if there is any financial irregularity.
The Puri seer had expressed displeasure over the ongoing Puri heritage corridor project work. He had urged the prime minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Naveen Patnaik to save Puri ‘dham’ (holy place) and not allow the ‘tapobhoomi” (place of meditation) to turn into a “bhog bhoomi” (place of please and amusement).”
The seer had expressed concern over destruction of heritage buildings, mostly ancient mutts in the name of development and alleged that Puri is being changed drastically in the name of development.
After the meeting the Shankaracharya said that he “will not sit silent if the government allows projects against the spiritual ideals of Puri dham”.
Meanwhile, BJD lawmaker Bhagirathi Sethi said that there is no harm in demolishing mutts to clear roads to Shri Jagannath temple, which is visited by lakhs of devotees every year.
BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said the state government has insulted the devotees of Lord Jagannath by demolishing mutts, which were closely linked with different rituals of the 12th century shrine.
The Puri Corridor Project, which aims to transform the pilgrim sea side town into an international place of heritage, ran into controversy when government agencies dug huge pits within 100 m from the temple boundary categorised as protected zone allegedly without prior permission from Archeological Survey of India.
The government was also accused of starting work without conducting the ground penetrating radar survey to trace archeological treasures buried underground and the impact assessment study. While all parties support development, they oppose construction work being carried out without the permission of the competent authority. A case on the matter is pending in Orissa High Court.
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.