After Puri temple,Patnaik seeks withdrawal of NMA bylaws for Bhubaneswar shrines

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 13 (PTI) Close on the heels of the Centre withdrawing draft notification of the National Monuments Authority banning any developmental work within 100 metres of an archeological site, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the union government to take back similar communique for areas around Lingaraj temple and Brahmeswar shrine here.

Reacting on the issue, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has assured the people of Odisha and Patnaik that the Centre will leave no stone unturned in honouring the culture, pride and local sentiments on the issues related to the recent draft notification of the NMA.

A delegation of the BJD MPs met Union Parliamentay Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi in New Delhi Saturday and placed demands that the centre remove the bylaws relating to Lingaraj temple.

Since Union Culture minister Prahlad Singh Patel was not in the national capital, the BJD Parliamentarians met Prahlad Joshi.

The proposed heritage rules, prohibit construction within a radius of 100 metre of any archaeological site,undermining the Odisha government's plan to develop the Lingaraj temple and its surroundings as a heritage site at the cost of Rs 700 crore.

A section of the people are also critical of the fact that the bylaws equate Shree Lingaraj temple, where living gods are being worshipped, with museums and other monuments.

National Monuments Authority which comes under union ministry of culture had issued the notification last month.

Pradhan said that Patnaik might not have been properly briefed on the applicability of the proposed NMA rules while responding to the series of tweets by the chief minister on Friday where he demanded the withdrawal of the NMAs draft notification for areas around Lingaraj and Brahmeswar temples in the state capital.

Patnaik in his tweets had invoked sentiments of lakhs of devotees and interests of servitors for making demands to withdraw the bylaws.

'I assure Hon. CM that Hn. PM Shri @narendramodi's govt. will leave no stone unturned in honouring and respecting the culture, pride & sentiments of Odisha and its people. We are committed to address through dialogue all objections of the State Govt. regarding these draft bylaws,' Pradhan, the Petroleum and Natural Gas minister said in a tweet on Friday.

Pradhan,who hails from Odisha, also requested Patnaik to direct the chief secretary to write a letter to the secretary of the union ministry of culture for examining point by point provisions of the draft bylaws and for listing out objections of the state government in the draft published by NMA.

'It seems that Hon. CM Shri @Naveen_Odisha is inadequately briefed on the applicability of the draft bylaws promulgated by NMA on the Ananta Basudev and Brahmaeswar temple in Bhubaneswar,' Pradhan said in another tweet.

The union minister clarified that the director of culture department in the Odisha government being the competent authority has been giving necessary permissions for any kind of construction and development activities within the periphery of the notified monuments of Odisha.

He also said that the NMA was constituted by a court order to provide better policy and legal framework to further improve upon preservation of monuments of immense cultural and historical importance.

'NMA also facilitates better upkeep, protection and preservation of natural treasures,' Pradhan said.

Referring to the ongoing controversy between the state and the centre over the NMA draft notification, Pradhan said, 'Protection of monuments of national, historical & cultural importance is a collective responsibility of all of us.

'HonCM who is a founding member of the @INTACHIndia must be aware that all notified monuments are protected under the AMASR Act, 1958 enacted in the Parliament.' Sources said that the draft notification on heritage bylaws is applicable for all the 80 monuments including Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, Shree Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar, Sun Temple in Konark and others preserved by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the state.

However, the objections have been raised over Puri temple and some temples in Bhubaneswar.

While the centre has already withdrawn the notification for Puri temple, it remained in force for other monuments across the state, a senior ASI official told PTI.

Though the NMAs notification does not mention the name of Shree Lingaraj temple in the draft notification, it will automatically come under the purview of the proposed laws as the 11th century shrine is located in the regulated zones of Ananta Basudeva temple.

Earlier this week, a joint effort by the BJD and the BJP saw withdrawal of the NMA's regulations for the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri. PTI AAM RG SNS SNS