BARIPADA: It has been one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a digital plaque to mark commencement of work to conserve and develop a palace, built by the Bhanja dynasty, at Haripur village in Badasahi block. However, the project is yet to see the light of day.
It is alleged that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been neglecting the structure, popularly known as the ‘Leaning Palace’.
As per records, the then king of Mayurbhanj Maharaja Harihar Bhanja had built the palace at Haripur because of its impregnable geographical surroundings following an attack by Muslim ruler of Tughlaq dynasty Firuz Shah on Khiching in 1361.
The structures that exist on the palace premises include Jagannath and Rasikaray temples, parts of the fort and the main gate. Sources said another temple has already been buried due to neglect. In the past, several secret chambers, rare artifacts and weapons used by the then rulers and kings have been discovered. There is a high possibility of discovery of more collection of antiquities if excavations are undertaken.
Spread over 25 acre land, the palace that comprises the fort, temples and other structures, is situated on the banks of Budhabalanga river and surrounded by villages and forest. The palace and the fort are popular among tourists and researchers.
However, with lack of attention, the dilapidated structure is being destroyed fast. Lambodar Das, a local, said residents of Haripur have repeatedly drawn the attention of ASI and the Government towards the condition of the palace but little has been done to conserve the site. He said several portions of the fort are now buried and the walls have developed cracks.
On May 29 last year, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had visited the dilapidated fort and assured the restoration work would start in a few months.Prakaskar Mohapatra, a Congress leader of Badasahi area alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the project to attract voters of Badasahi ahead of General Elections. He said it is doubtful whether the project would be started as the elections are now over. Caretaker of the palace Bhagirathi Behera said the estimate report for development of the fort has been sent to the Government.
District Tourist Officer in-charge Tanuja Sirka said the Tourism department has no information on the project as it is being taken care of by ASI. She said the department will take up the issue with ASI at Bhubaneswar.