Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 19:
In a new twist to the ISKCON Puri temple controversy, the Puri Konark Development Authority (PKDA) today asked ISKCON authorities to refrain from taking up construction activities on the Baliapanda land until the matter is resolved.
Besides, PKDA has served a show cause notice on ISKCON and has asked it to present its side on January 29.
As directed by Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singh Deo earlier today, the agency has also handed over all necessary documents pertaining to the case to the ministry.
Further, PKDA vice chairman and Puri district collector Aravind Agrawal today ordered a detailed investigation into the land procurement and the plan of the temple. He will submit the report to the Urban Development department for further action.
“They (ISKCON) had sought permission to develop the place as an institutional area. They did not tell us that they are going to build a Jagannath temple on the said land. We are now investigating the allegations. Action would be taken if we find out that they kept us in the dark deliberately while submitting the plan,” said Agrawal.
In another related development, a complainant has moved the PKDA against ISKCON alleging forgery and encroachment at the proposed temple site.
As per a report aired by a local TV channel, the complainant Bijay Panda has cited that the original owners of the said land Hasmukh Lal Desai and Piyush Desai live in the USA and ISKCON has allegedly forged signatures to take over the property. Besides, he moved the PKDA citing that getting a plan approved on a disputed land is illegal.
“A civil dispute case is going in the collector’s court for the said land. It is impossible that PKDA would give approval for the land under such conditions. ISKCON, however, has managed to do it and we have raised an objection on that,” said Panda speaking to the channel.
Puri collector Agrawal today assured that the district administration would investigate the land grab allegation too.
Notably, ISKCON had acquired 18.65 acre land for the project at the proposed site. It had obtained No Objection Certificate (NOC) for construction and the building plan was also approved by PKDA on April 22, 2015.