PURI: The foundation stone of the Srimandir Parikrama Yojana – Sri Jagannath Temple Corridor project – was laid by Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb on Wednesday here in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Chief Minister after attending the ‘shilanyas’ ritual, called the day “historic for all Jagannath Bhakts across the world and sacred for the people of Odisha.”
Srimandir Parikrama is the most important part of the Heritage Corridor project spanning the 75-metre periphery of the temple, which will enable an unobstructed view of the temple while helping tourists and devotees to go around it without any difficulty. The project will be undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs 331.28 crore. The creation of various amenities and infrastructure along the temple boundary will be taken up under the project.
A seven-lane pathway for devotees and a separate lane for deities around the Meghnad Pacheri will be constructed. There will be inner and outer corridors around the Pacheri.
The Srimandir Parikrama project will entail the construction of a mega reception hall for 6,000 devotees, a large cloakroom, toilets for women and men at all four gates, first-aid centres and police aid posts besides provision for drinking water.
Four security watchtowers will be erected at four sides of the Parikrama. It also envisages the construction of a security corridor around the temple with a green cover. Besides, renovation of all mutts and temples around the shrine will be taken up. The office of the Chief Temple Administrator will be renovated. The Parikrama is a vital aspect of the ambitious World Heritage City project which will be implemented by the State government in phases at an estimated cost of Rs 3,200 crore under the ABADHA scheme.
Under this, 22 projects will be executed in three phases. Official sources said Rs 800 crore will be made available from the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture (ABADHA) scheme initially followed by Rs 265 crore more in the first phase.
Around 15.65 acres of land has been acquired for the heritage corridor. The land has been purchased directly from 115 families, while 512 shops and 24 lodges were evicted. Besides, properties of 25 mutts have been acquired for the project. The government has so far paid Rs 289.34 crore for acquiring land.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister felicitated 131 persons and 15 ‘mahantas’ who had given land for the project. He also felicitated 10 persons who donated their land adjacent to the corridor project. Naveen also unveiled a model of the Parikrama project. He left after offering prayers to Patitapaban at the Lions gate.
Puri was made a fortress for the Chief Minister’s visit. About 25 platoons of police force were deployed in and around the temple and along the route.