Puri, May 1 (PTI) Amid a row over the Puri Heritage Corridor project, a joint team comprising officials of ASI, OBCC, and Tata Project on Sunday inspected the construction sites close to Shree Jagannath Temple here.
The ASI will prepare a map and report on how deep the soil has been dug for the ongoing work and the steps that had been taken before construction.
The Orissa High Court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to undertake a joint visit along with officials of the state government to the site and file its affidavit at least two days before May 9.
The team comprising Archaeological Survey of India’s regional director Dilip Kumar Khamari, superintendent Arun Kumar Mallick, assistant superintendent C R Dash along with officials of the project executing agencies – Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC) and Tata Project- and Puri district collector Samarth Verma jointly inspected the construction sites.
They examined the depth, width, and other parameters of the pits dug by the administration.
The ASI regional director said, “We inspected the depth of construction with the help of a laser distometer. We will prepare a joint survey report and submit it to the High Court.” It was alleged that the state government had carried out construction works within the prohibited zone of the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple, a centrally protected monument, allegedly without seeking prior permission from the ASI.
The joint team visited all the construction sites in the west, north, and south of the temple and the place near old Emar Mutt.
“We are not authorised to reveal the findings of the inspection and our detail report will be submitted at the Orissa High Court by May 7, before the court takes up the matter for hearing on May 9,” Khamari said.
The date for the hearing of the petition that sought the intervention of the court claiming that the work on the project is affecting the health of the temple had been advanced from May 16 to May 9.
A resident of Puri had approached the High Court seeking its intervention in the construction of public amenities that would come up within 75 metre radius of the temple.
The petitioner contended it was illegal as it violated the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, which prohibited new construction within 100 metre of a protected monument. The project has also run into a controversy with the opposition BJP and the Congress levelling allegations that norms are being violated during its implementation.
However, the state government has claimed that works are being done as per the law. PTI AAM MM MM
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