The Odisha government has decided to clear all structures within 75 metres of the Jagannath Mandir at Puri for safety, security and convenience of the pilgrims. The structures to be cleared include both private and public property. The owners of the private properties will be provided with adequate compensation.
A proposal in this regard was cleared during a meeting of the state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday. Government structures located within 75 metres of the Temple wall (Meghnad Pacheri) will be the first to be cleared.
Development Commissioner Asit Tripathy said, “The Cabinet has approved certain recommendations made by BP Das Commission. As per the decision, up to 75 meters along the Meghanad Pacheri of Puri temple will be made encroachment-free for free passage of devotees during any emergency and ensure the safety of the temple.”
Puri collector has been charged with implementing the decision. He will survey, demarcate the land, make rehabilitation plan for the affected people and development plan for the space. The structures to be removed from the area include private properties, shoe stands, Government installations like power supply building, temple information centre and a police outpost.
On Monday, the Puri District Administration destroyed some structures flanking Meghnad Pacheri. However, it was claimed that the demolition was not connected to the recent decision taken.
“The Archaeological Survey of India had requested us to clear all structures adjacent to Meghanad Prachir and there was an Orissa High Court order in this regard. All private and government structures will be demolished,” said Balwant Singh, Puri District Collector. “We have taken a decision not to touch old establishments and structures having monument value,” added Singh.