Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s demand for immediate withdrawal of the contentious heritage draft bye-laws of the Union Culture Ministry issued on the temples of Ananta Basudev and Brahmeswar, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra today dashed a letter to Union Culture Secretary Raghvendra Singh reiterating the State Government’s demand.
“The State Government strongly recommends immediate withdrawal of the draft heritage bye-laws,” the letter of the Odisha Chief Secretary mentions, adding, “It is also suggested that NMA may have a stakeholder consultation including sevayats, temple administration and the State Government on these sensitive temple matters where the living deity and rituals are interlinked. The State Government is committed for constructive cooperation in this regard.”
Citing that the heritage bye-laws relating to Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri have been withdrawn by NMA (National Monument Authority) following serious discontentment from the sevayats, devotees, people at large and people’s representatives, the Odisha Chief Secretary in his letter today apprised, “However, draft notification relating to Ekamra Kshetra temples are still in force causing distress to the sevayat community, people at large and devotees.”
He further highlighted, “The Temple Trust Board and Endowment Commissioner have written to the Member Secretary, NMA for immediate withdrawal of the draft notification relating to Ekamra Kshetra.”
The Chief Secretary has also mentioned, “There have been frequent agitations regarding the non-withdrawal of these draft notifications and there is serious apprehension that this will lead to widespread agitation and disturb the day to day religious rituals in the temples. This kind of atmosphere in temples is bound to hurt the religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees. The largest congregation of devotees in Ekamra Kshetra will happen on March 11th on the occasion of Maha Shiv Ratri festival.”