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Supreme Court of India (Photo/ANI)
Supreme Court of India (Photo/ANI)

SC to hear tomorrow plea against excavation work around Shree Jagannath temple

ANI | Updated: May 30, 2022 22:18 IST

New Delhi [India], May 30 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will hear on May 31 a plea challenging the order of the Orissa High Court refusing to restrain the state government from carrying out excavation work around Shree Jagannath temple at Puri, Odisha.
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Justices BR Gavai and Hima Kohli for urgent listing. The bench said it will hear the matter tomorrow.
The plea challenged the order of the division bench of Orissa High Court and alleged illegal excavation and construction work by the Odisha government at Shree Jagannath temple.
The appeal filed in the apex court alleged that the excavation of the area close to the temple wall poses a serious threat to the temple's structural safety. It sought a stay of the operation of the construction work near the temple.
The High Court, while hearing a PIL, had asked the Archeological Survey of India as well as the State government agencies to conduct a joint inspection of the area and submit a report.
The ASI had informed the High Court that there was every possibility of archaeological remains at the heritage site being destroyed due to the excavation work for the corridor.
It had said that the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation, the PSU which is undertaking the construction, may have destroyed archaeological remains from around the 12th century Jagannath temple by carrying out a deep excavation to build common facilities under the 'Srimandir Parikrama' plan.
It had further submitted that the government had not obtained any permission to carry out the construction work. The State, however, contended that it had obtained all the requisite permission for the construction.
The High court, while taking into note the ASI's report, had directed the state government to file an affidavit by June 20 and fixed June 22 as the next date of hearing.
The appeal in the Supreme Court said that as per Section 19 of the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, no person can construct any building within a 100 meters radius protected area and the temple was declared a protected area in 1975, hence such construction is happening at a structure called Meghanad Pacheri which is an integral part of the temple.
It said the state government is trying to construct certain structures by using heavy machinery and has already dug up to 30 feet from the ground level adjacent to the western side of Meghnad Pacheri and added that the equipment used for construction is putting pressure on the foundation of the temple.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattanaik in 2021 had laid down the foundation stone for the Jagannath Temple corridor project wherein the 75-metre perimeter of the temple was sought to be transformed into a heritage corridor to attract devotees.
'The Srimandir Parikrama project' has been designed to have a wide terraced green landscape and a pedestrian-only pathway. (ANI)