Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 19:
A day after senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra alleged that ISKCON is planning to build a Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri, ISKCON today clarified that the proposed temple will be a Radha Krishna temple.
Speaking to reporters today, Puri ISKCON Chief Banamali Das also clarified that they do not have any intention to build a Jagannath temple or conduct a Rath Yatra in Puri.
“ISKCON would never aspire to build yet another Jagannath temple in Puri or conduct a Rath Yatra there. There already is a huge temple and we have been participating in the Rath Yatra. Whatever others are saying is politically motivated,” said Das.
“We are going to build a 32 feet tall Radha Krishna temple there. We have about 15-18 acres of land there and the proposed temple would be built on an area of 52,000 sq.ft area – which is approximately only one acre. This is in no way even comparable to Lord Jagannath’s temple,” he added.
Odisha government, however, asked Puri collector to submit a detailed report over the land allotment and subsequent construction plan approval of the project given the sensitivity of the issue.
“I am aware of the issue and have asked the collector to submit a report. The collector is the vice chairman of Puri Konark Development Authority (PKDA) and his report will explain the project in details. The government would take the next step only after receiving the report,” said Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singh Deo.
“They (ISKCON) had sought permission to develop the place as an institutional area. As per the plan they are going to build a temple, a rest shade, a kitchen etc. The plan we have approved no where says that a Jagannath temple would be built over the land. I have personally verified it today,” said Puri Collector Arvind Agrawal.
While Puri based Jagannath Sena today organised a demonstration in the town against the alleged Jagannath temple by ISKCON, BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said that he is “relieved” after ISKCON’s clarification.