By D N Singh
The exercise and the simultaneous politicisation of Puri’s proposed Heritage Corridor undertaken by the State and the centre has, perhaps, reached an inflection point.
Every passing day the issue gets murkier as several contrarian views get purported through political leaders pitching in their stands on the dos and donts over the proposed plan to transform the look and feel of the magnificent structure of 12th century. An epitome of religious togetherness .
On the issue, particularly the corridor which is a highly felt need, the chief minister Naveen Patnaik and the union minister Dharmendra Pradhan are in agreement in support of the heritage corridor.
But there is a raging disagreement between a faction of the BJP and the BJD over the way the execution is done. For the state government the situation is made like a choice between deep sea and the devil.
In fact, the case of Puri is little different than many religious places of worship. Here in Puri the affairs of the temple are under a composite structure. And equally composite are the rites and rituals those are practiced for the deities.
In 1975 the temple management committee (TMC) entered into an agreement with the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) by which the latter was empowered to do the overall conservation of the shrine.
Accordingly a parameter was drawn prohibiting any other structure built within 100 metres from the shrine.
But much before it came into place, there had been an en number of residences of people from the priest community and ‘Maths’ for centuries sorroundung the temple and both had remained intricately linked with the rituals of the Lord playing crucial roles religiously and logistically.
When the government drew the plan for clearing the structures within the prohibited limits, the task was enormous but somehow a consensus was struck and the people located around contributed for the greater cause of the Lord and agreed to vacate.
For which the state had the legal and the moral mandate in its support. Each one dislodged from their place were handsomely compensated.
But the issue being made as violation of norms by the Congress and some from the BJP was that, the state exercised it’s writ on the willing and non – willing stakeholders.
About the Author:
DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com