Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday asked Puri district collector to submit a report after examining whether the Puri-Konark Development Authority (PKDA) has granted permission to ISKCON to construct a "Jagannath Temple" near the main temple located at Bada Danda in Puri.
"I have directed the district collector of Puri who is also the vice-chairman of the PKDA to examine whether the International Society For Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is allowed to construct a huge Jagannath Temple at Puri. The collector will submit a report in this regard soon," Housing and Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo said.
However, Puri collector Arabind Agarwal said, "I have verified documents and found that PKDA has given permission to ISKCON for construction of a Radha-Krishna temple. There is no mention of Lord Jagannath in the ISKCON proposal."
The state government's action came in response to a statewide outcry over the alleged bid of the ISKCON to build the second Jagannath Temple at Puri.
The matter came into limelight after senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra alleged that ISKCON had been allowed to construct a huge Jagannath temple, just 2 km away from the ancient Sri Jagannath temple in Puri.
Stating that none can imagine another Jagannath temple in Puri, Mohapatra demanded that the government immediately clarify it.
A day after Mohapatra's allegation, ISKCON said it has no plan to set up a second Jagannath Temple at Puri.
ISKCON clarified that they propose to install idols of Radha and Krishna, Lord Nrusingha, Nitai and Gour.
"While Lord Jagannath Temple is above 200 feet high, our proposed Radha-Krishna temple will be much smaller in size. It will be only 32 feet high," ISKCON's spokesman said.
He, however, admitted that ISKCON has about 15 acre of land at Puri. "Of the above 15 acre of land, only one acre will be used for construction of temple, library, kitchen, prayer hall and other tourist amenities."
Meanwhile, a group of people along with priests of the 12th century shrine at Puri staged a demonstration protesting against ISKCON's alleged bid to construct the second Jagannath