Odisha acquires 15 acres for Puri heritage corridor in 4 months | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com


BHUBANESWAR: Odisha’s ambitious Jagannath Temple heritage corridor has been put on the fast track, with the state government having acquired 15 acres of land – of which 12.5 acres were privately held – in a record four months.
Many have attributed this to the attractive compensations given to the land owners and to the skill of the government officials who were assigned the task of convincing people to part with their land. The quick and hassle-free acquisition of land for the Jagannth Temple heritage corridor – a project that chief minister Naveen Patnaik seems personally invested in – is a big boost to the state which saw a big-ticket project of steel major Posco being shelved because of difficulty in acquiring land.
The process faced a few hurdles initially, as those losing land and religious outfits resisted the demolition of old buildings within a 75-metre radius of the 12th-century shrine. The demolition drive began in the third week of August 2019, and was over by the middle of December. The buildings that were razed included a number of residential houses, commercial establishments, shops, lodgings and mutts.
Collector (Puri) Balwant Singh, who oversaw the demolition and the land acquisition, said he was privileged to have taken forward the heritage corridor project one brick at a time. What clinched matters in favour of the government was a personal appeal by the chief minister to the people to ‘sacrifice’ a bit of land for Lord Jagannath, explained the collector. “It helped us deal with that intense situation (when people were protesting against land acquisition). It soothed nerves and we went ahead with our plan,” Singh said.

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