New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday did not entertain petitions seeking a stay on the Rs 800 crore worth Jagannath Temple Corridor project in Puri, Odisha, terming it a necessity for providing public amenities.
Also, criticising the applicants of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for “wasting” the court’s time with giddy petitions, a vacation bench of Justices B R Gavai and Hima Kohli imposed costs on the concerned petitioners.
“The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has given the go ahead to the project, which is scheduled to be completed by May 2023 to provide basic civic amenities and other facilities to (a) large number of pilgrims and devotees who throng the Jagannath Temple, one of the Char Dhams (as per Hindu faith),” the SC said.
The SC said that the state advocate general has given a definite undertaking before the Orissa high court that no archaeological remains have been damaged during soil excavation. “The PILs, without any basis, have created a huge clamour about the Srimandir Parikrama Plan,” the SC said.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Ardhendu Kumar Das and others alleging illegal excavation and construction work by the Odisha government at the temple.
According to the petition, state agencies have been working in gross violation of Section 20A of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. The plea has been blaming the Odisha government for unauthorised construction work, which is a threat to the structure of this gigantic ancient temple.
On May 29, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra said that the construction work is going on round the clock. “It is also the wish of Lord Jagannath that the project be completed at the earliest.” No agency can stop the ongoing construction work as the Lord wants it, “he said. He further added that the BJP and Congress have the right to move to court if they have any objection.