Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Finance Commission has allotted Rs 175 crore for Puri Gajapati Maharaja following his request for special funds to develop the city and projects linked to the Jagannath Temple.
Besides, funds will also be available from the culture and tourism ministry, informed Pradhan while initiating a dialogue over a video conference involving non-resident Odias living in US, Japan, Sweden and several other countries said the identity of every Odia is Lord Jagannath. He sought cooperation and contribution of the Odia community and Hindu samaj at large for the mega projects.
Puri Gajapati Maharaja and chairman of the temple managing committee, Dibyasingha Deb elaborated on the mega Parikrama project around the Puri Jagannath Temple at a video conference of non-resident Odias and sought their cooperation.
The conference was apparently arranged by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who has been mooting the idea of raising a fund for the development projects linked to the Jagannath Temple.
In fact Pradhan had requested Deb to take the lead and head such a fund mobilizing drive as well as involving people in the work. The Puri Maharaja had appreciated the community participation idea but had remained non-committal on heading a fund collection drive.
Deb elaborated on the proposed Parikrama project and said 55 meters around the temple will be developed and 20 meters will be for a dedicated shuttle lane. He spoke of the plan to provide all basic amenities like rest rooms for devotees, reception centre, Sanskruti Mandap etc.
The project proposals are to be approved by the ASI, NMA , he added.
It is pertinent to note here that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been working on transforming Puri to a World Heritage City estimated to cost over Rs 3000 crore. It is billed as the CM’s dream project and his most trusted lieutenant V Kartikeyan Pandian, IAS, had once narrated how the CM had during a drive to Puri , much before the 2019 general elections, talked of his dream and vision for Puri.
The CM had started project works and with the cooperation of local people demolished structures within 75 meters of the boundary wall of the temple.
He had even moved a resolution in the Assembly which was unanimously adopted.
Union Minister Pradhan has of late turned pro-active and started talking of a ‘nidi’ and jan andolan for the projects strikingly similar to the Ayodhya temple fund mobilization.