Stop building 'Jagannath temple': Govt tells Iskcon

Bhubaneswar, Jan 20: In a blow to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), the Puri district administration on Tuesday asked it to stop construction of their proposed Jagannath Temple at Sipasarubali in Puri.

This coincided with the state housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singhdeo ordering a probe as to how the proposed temple's building plan was approved in spite of a legal dispute over the ownership of the 30-acre plot.

Iskcon's proposed temple ran into rough weather after BJP senior leader Bijoy Mohapatra on Monday alleged that the religious outfit wanted to build another Jagannath Temple in Puri, which would hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.

"I have asked the Puri district collector to examine whether the Puri Konark Development Authority (PKDA) followed legitimate procedures before approving Iskcon's building plan for the proposed temple," Singhdeo said.

PKDA planning member Lingaraj Prasad Pattnaik said Iskcon had suppressed information about the legal dispute of the land. "We found that another man had staked claim to the land and had a few years ago moved a court in Puri against Iskcon. Iskcon applied for approval of the building plan for the temple in October 2012. The plan was approved in April 2015. PKDA approved the plan only after getting the no-objection certificate from the Puri sub-collector. Neither Iskcon nor anyone else had brought to the notice of the PKDA about the dispute over the land's ownership title," Pattanik said.

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