Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced a special package for beautification and development of Lingaraj Temple

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced a special package for infrastructural development and protection of the Lingaraj Temple here.

A plan, called 66-acre Ekamra Kshetra Yojana, would be implemented for conservation of the glorious heritage of the Lingaraj Temple and its adjoining areas.

The Chief Minister announced compensations and rehabilitation packages for vendors and urged all residents to cooperate with Government for the purpose.

“Ekamra Kshetra, Bhubaneswar is a prominent Shaiva Pitha in the country. Bhubaneswar has been described as the second Kashi in different epics. Thousands of devotees come to Bhubaneswar every day to have darshan of Lord Lingaraj. The temple city is adorned with many historic monuments. The Lingaraj Temple built with Kalinga architect in 11th Century is the best epitome of the Utkal art form. To conserve this, we need to make some sacrifices. Thus, I urge you all to take your sacrifices as service to Lord Lingaraj and cooperate with the Government,” Patnaik urged the residents.

The release said nine projects would be taken up as part of the package. Work on renovation of historic water tanks, modern parking, Lingaraj Heritage Project, development of Kedar Gouri and Muketswara temple premises, e-auto programme and establishment of a heritage interpretation centre would be carried out.

A beautiful park would be set up and vehicle movement would be completely prohibited in front of the temple. Development of amenities for tourists will be the priority. While Bindu Sagar pond would be cleaned with modern technologies, other historical tanks such as Kedargouri, Papanasini, Godabari, Kotitirtha, Ganga Jamuna and Debipadahara tanks would be renovated. This apart, security of the temple would be strengthened.

The Shri Lingaraj police station and the Shri Lingaraj Temple Trust Board office would be relocated. To lessen traffic and better movement of vehicles, a road would be constructed from Taleswara Chhak to Badehibanka Chhak. Also, parking places would come up at four places.

Owners of makeshift shops evicted during the temple beautification project would get Rs 30,000 in two installments and would be rehabilitated at vending zones. Traders having pucca shops would get Rs 10,000 per month for 12 months and they would be rehabilitated at market complexes to be built by the BMC or the Tourism Department.

Compensation to owners of residential houses and commercial establishments would decided after discussions with the affected.

It was also decided that a new Act would be formulated for the Lingaraj Temple on line with the Shree Jagannath Temple Act.

Among others Ministers Pratap Jena and Ashok Chandra Panda, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy and Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra were present.

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