Stung by the criticism of its Puri demolition drive, the Odisha Government announced a rehabilitation-and-resettlement (R&R) package for affected individuals and institutions.
However, new groups joined the protest Tuesday against the demolition with the latest being the mahanta (chief) of the Akhada Mutt. The district administration is already facing flak for razing the Emar Mutt and its library.
The R&R package focuses on almost all stakeholders — residents, shopping establishments, lodges and vendors and is estimated to run into several hundred crore rupees.
For residential units, a relocation allowance of Rs 50,000 per family towards expenses of transportation and other immediate arrangements was announced, apart from Rs 10,000 per month assistance from the date of acquisition of the property till handing over of a residential unit/resettlement plot to the displaced family.
A family can also instead opt for one-time assistance of Rs 30 lakh. An affected family has also the option to go for allotment of one residential unit having a size of 520 square feet built-up area in a colony within 1.5 km of the temple complex. S
A family can also opt for allotment of a resettlement plot of 40×25 ft within two km of the temple. For shop owners, a relocation allowance of Rs 50,000 per unit for transportation and other heads have been announced.
Former BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy on Monday posted a series of tweets slamming the ongoing demolition drive around Puri’s Sri Jagannath Temple, calling the state government endorsed move to knock down the centuries old Emar Mutt “uncouth and uncaring”.
Satapathy tweeted: “Demolitions around Puri Lord Jagannath Temple may not be ‘illegal’ but certainly uncouth & uncaring. 100s of years old Mutts and edifices, instead of being protected are now razed. I prefer Rome type preservation to a Benares style destruction.”
He added, “Easy to destroy, very difficult to create. Puri Emaar Mutt was built in 1200 AD. Now ruined. Wonder why we Indians do not appreciate our past and blame all our faults on ancestors. I feel we are creating an uglier history now.”
Puri Shankaracharya also raised questions as to why he was not consulted by the B P Das Commission that had recommended the demolition. He also raised the possibility of a conspiracy behind the entire move.