PURI: Encroachments around the Jagannath temple in Puri will be cleared for construction of a ‘parikrama’ for devotees. The move scheduled to begin on Monday is aimed at securing the 12th-century shrine after intelligence inputs have pointed to possible terrorist attacks.
Informing this to media persons on Tuesday, Collector Balwant Singh said the district administration will pull down all illegal constructions around the Meghanada Pachauri and widen the parikrama (passage). “Also, as there are intelligence reports that the temple is a soft target for terrorists, we have decided to clear all constructions in the close vicinity of the temple wall,” he said.
The buildings identified to be razed to the ground are private properties, shoe stands beside, Government installations like power supply building, temple information centre, a police outpost and seven other buildings. Two mutts - Chauni Mutt and Chata Mutt - that are located near the wall and connected with Jagannath temple will be preserved. Adequate compensation will be paid to owners of private properties while Government installations would be relocated.
A consultant has been entrusted to prepare a detailed plan and the work is in the final stage.
Although the temple is a protected monument and any kind of constructions within its 100-metre radius is prohibited, a large number of buildings have come up in the area. The Orissa High Court had directed the administration to clear the encroachments but in vain.
Singh said the mahants of both the mutts and members of temple servitor bodies that have constructed buildings within the prohibited area of the temple have been informed about the decision.