BHUBANESWAR: The State Government will soon bring a special law for management of Lingaraj temple in line with the Shri Jagannath Temple Act.
This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday, after taking an on-spot review of Ekamra Kshetra heritage project that envisages all-round development and beautification of the periphery of the 11th century shrine.
The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the people who parted with their lands for the heritage project and sought cooperation of all concerned to complete it in time.
“I am very pleased to see how the work is progressing here. Soon, there will be special Act for Lingaraj Temple like we have for the Srimandir at Puri,” he said. The CM stated that the beautification of Lingaraj temple and its periphery will draw a lot of pilgrims and tourists.
The draft Lingaraj Temple Act, 2020 will take the temple out of the Odisha Hindu Religious Act and put it under the control of Lingaraj Temple Managing Committee with a full-time administrator to look after day-to-day affairs of the shrine. On approval of the draft law by the State Cabinet, a Bill will be brought in the Assembly. Plans were afoot to bring the Bill in the Winter session but it did not materialise, official sources said.
The Chief Minister offered prayers to Lord Lingaraj from Singhadwar and held discussions with the temple sevayats. The sevayats thanked him for the fast-paced development works and also requested him to enact the law soon.
The Ekamra Kshetra heritage project was announced by the Chief Minister in December 2019. The project involves comprehensive development of the Lingaraj temple and its periphery spanning 66 acre land. Apart from beautification, there will be massive upgradation of infrastructure and amenities for devotees and tourists.
The first phase of the project includes outer access road development, Lingaraj entry plaza, Bindusagar lake revival plan, parking space, heritage complex, development of amenities for Kedar Gouri- Mukteswar complex, e-auto project, relocation project and a state-of-the-art interpretation centre.
On completion of the project, around two lakh devotees will be able to witness the Mahadeepa ritual on Maha Shivaratri. Besides, lakhs of kaudias who visit the temple during the month of Shravan to pour holy water on Lord Shiva will have better facilities.
The Chief Minister also said that the government has plans for development of other heritage sites in the State. “There will be more. We are discussing the matter,” he said.