Odisha government seeks report on ISKCON’s Jagannath temple

Bhubaneswar, Jan 19 (IANS) As controversy erupted over ISKCON’s move to build a Jagannath temple at Puri, the Odisha government on Tuesday asked the district collector to furnish a detailed report over the proposed temple.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singhdeo said the Puri district collector, the vice-chairman of Puri-Konark Development Authority (PKDA), has been asked to furnish a report over the temple the ISKCON proposed to build in Puri.

“We have asked the collector to examine under what circumstance the approval was given, what kind of temple will be built and how much land has been allotted. A detailed report has been sought from him,” said Singhdeo.

The department would take steps accordingly after examining the report, he added.

Puri district collector Aravind Agrawal said that ISKCON had not mentioned it planned to build a Jagannath temple when it applied for permission to construct a five-storeyed building and a temple on the premises.

He said the district administration has given permission to construct three-storeyed building and a temple on the land.

Meanwhile, ISKCON on Tuesday clarified that its proposed temple at Puri’s Baliapanda is of Radha-Krishna deities, not of Lord Jagannath and his siblings.

“The allegation of building a second Jagannath temple at Puri is baseless and politically motivated. We do not have any such proposal. ISKCON would never dare build another Jagannath temple in the pilgrim city,” said ISKCON’s project director Banamali Das.

Why would ISKCON build another temple when Puri has such a big Jagannath temple and badadanda, he asked.

“No Jagannath idol would be placed nor would Rath Yatra be held at the proposed ISKCON temple at Puri. When our ISKCON devotees are participating in the Puri Rath Yatra, why would we build another Jagannath temple?” he added.

Members of the Jagannath Sena on Tuesday staged a protest against the ISKCON’s proposed temple in front of the Sri Mandir and raised slogans against the institution.

Notably, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bijay Mohapatra on Monday raised the issue that foreign hands are behind planning the construction of the proposed ISKCON Jagannath temple, just 2 km from the famous Sri Jagannath temple in Puri.

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