Naveen shown black flags by Congress activists in Puri
Puri: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was shown black flags by Congress activists during his visit to Puri on Saturday to review the progress of the heritage corridor project and beautification work. The Congress activists were protesting the alleged sale of the land of Bagala Dharmasala to businessmen and six of them were detained, police said.
Naveen, who turned 75 on Friday, paid obeisance to the presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple from outside the premises in view of the ban on entry of devotees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He offered prayers near the ‘Singha Dwara’ (Lion’s Gate) and undertook ‘parikrama’ around the temple boundary. “I have come to the Jagannath Temple in Puri to review the work outside the place of worship,” he said.
The State Government has planned a Rs 3,208 crore project under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture (ABADHA) scheme to transform Puri into a world heritage city. Naveen reviewed the queue management system on the southeastern side of the temple. He advised the officials to base security arrangements on technology to ensure hassle-free entry of devotees through the ‘Singha Dwara’. He said the ‘parikrama’ should be disabled-friendly and there should not be any electric sub-station near the temple boundary wall.
The Chief Minister said there should be cloakrooms for devotees coming from afar and arrangements should be made to serve ‘mahaprasad’ to a large number of people at a time. He said electric carts should be made available for elderly devotees.
Naveen directed the district administration to complete the land acquisition process by January 1 next year and start work on Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor.
The Congress activists showed black flags to Naveen near Bagala Dharmasala. “We are opposed to the sale of Bagala Dharmasala land to businessmen. The land was donated by devotee Kanhaiya Lal to provide accommodation to poor pilgrims at cheaper rates,” Puri district Youth Congress president Swadhin Panda said.