BHUBANESWAR: Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi raised the issue of violations of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act) in the implementation of the ambitious Srimandir Parikrama Project in the Parliament on Thursday.
Stating that AMASR norms do not allow any constructions within the 100-metre prohibited zone of the centrally-protected Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri, she said that work on the project is being carried out in gross violation of the rules, posing a threat to the 12th century monument.
“The temple of Mahaprabhu Jagannath is a priceless heritage for all Hindus and its protection is our responsibility. The Parliament had passed the AMASR Act in 1958 which prohibits any kind of new construction within the 100-metre prohibited
zone of a centrally-protected monument and regulates constructions within 200 metres of the monument with permission from the National Monument Authority. It comes as a surprise for all Odias that the Odisha government has been carrying out massive digging around the temple without the permission of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monument Authority (NMA),” the MP said in the Lok Sabha.
Sarangi further said that although she is not against development and beautification of Srimandir and Puri, works being carried out in gross violation of norms and posing threat to the temple should be immediately stopped.
She pointed out that when work on the Parikrama Project began, a consultative committee was formed by the Odisha government but no officer of ASI – the custodian of the temple - was made a part of this panel. “How can work on Srimandir be done without ASI being a part of the whole process,” she asked. Besides, heritage impact assessment study and ground penetrating radar survey were not done before the work began, the MP added. “This matter is related to our Lord Jagannath and emotions of 4.5 crore Odia people,” she said.
Seeking the intervention of the Culture Ministry on the issue, Sarangi said that development work should be carried out with strict adherence to the AMASR norms. “We will support all development work but norms should not be violated. NMA permission is a must. The work being carried out now within the prohibited zone should be immediately stopped as it is a violation of the AMASR Act,” she said.
As a part of the Parikrama project, public amenities are being set up within the 75-metre radius of the ancient temple. On Wednesday, the MP had met the Director General (DG) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) V Vidyavathi in New Delhi on the issue.