Orissa HC expresses anguish over delay in repair works at Puri’s Jagannath Temple

The Orissa High Court on Monday directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to explain why the repair of ‘Natamandap’ at the Jagannath Temple in Puri has not been finished despite it assuring in April 2017 that the work would be completed in four months.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice Murahari Sri Raman directed the ASI to file an affidavit, elaborately explaining its position by the next date of hearing, November 8.

“It is a matter of regret that in spite of the directions given by this court in the year 2017, till date, the repair work of ‘Natamandap’ has not yet been completed,” the court said.

The court refused to acknowledge the ASI’s assertions that the repair work was handed over to IIT-Madras, and the delay was because of the institute.

“By this process, five years have elapsed, and therefore, this Court takes serious view of the matter,” it said.

During the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Puri-based activist Abhisek Das, the ASI had in April 2017 assured the court that the repair work of the ‘Natamandap’ or dance hall would be completed within four months.

Amicus curiae NK Mohanty has also, in his status report to the court, indicated that due to inaction of the ASI and also that of IIT-Madras, the repair work was not progressing.

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