INTACH calls for Odisha CM to halt Jagannath temple project till disposal of case in HC

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, pleading with him to intervene in the disputed Jagannath temple heritage corridor Parikrama Project while the issue is ongoing in the Orissa High Court.

According to INTACH's state convenor A.B. Tripathy's letter to the Chief Minister, a PIL has been filed in the Orissa High Court regarding a breach of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act), as pointed out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). 

He said, the ASI has denied approval for the proposed building of numerous facilities within the forbidden zone. "The followers of Lord Jagannath are left feeling bewildered and wounded amid this debate that has taken on a political tint," said Tripathy. "Since the High Court is hearing the issue, stopping work in the interim time will have no effect on the project's implementation," he added. "No legal permit has been given for the Shree Mandira Parikrama Project," the ASI told the court on May 9.

The ASI further stated that there is a chance that the construction company, Odisha Bridge & Construction Corporation (OBCC), destroyed certain archaeological remains at the heritage site.

On or before June 20, the court has ordered the Odisha government to file an affidavit in response to ASI's affidavit. The case's next hearing is slated for June 22.

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