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Odisha Government Pledges Rs 42.51 Crore for 26 Ancient Shrine Redevelopment

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Odisha government has earmarked Rs 42.51 crore for the redevelopment of 26 ancient shrines in the Ganjam district. The project, sanctioned by the Works Department, will focus on the renovation, restoration, and reconstruction of these historical landmarks located in 12 out of the 13 assembly constituencies, excluding Berhampur.

The Ganjam district, notably the home turf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, is set to witness the revival of its rich cultural and religious heritage through this initiative. The decision comes in response to the district administration’s recommendation, driven by public demand, for the renovation and infrastructure development of these age-old temples.

The allocated funds add to the government’s commitment to preserving cultural landmarks, as a previous sanction of Rs 48.97 crore was granted for the facelift of 997 village temples in the district. Tenders for the execution of these projects are currently in process, as confirmed by Assistant Chief Engineer (Works) Durga Charan Behera.

Among the notable shrines slated for redevelopment is the Marda temple in Polasara block, a 300-year-old site known as Sharan Shrikshetra. This temple holds historical significance as it housed the deities of the Puri Jagannath temple from 1733 to 1735. Other prominent temples, such as the 500-year-old Ganesh temple at Panchama near Bhubaneswar and the ancient Siddha Bhairabi temple where former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao performed rituals, are also part of this comprehensive redevelopment plan.

The scope of the project extends beyond structural improvements, as it includes the repair and renovation of temple structures, the construction of amenities for pilgrims such as rest sheds and toilets, and the provision of drinking water and illumination, according to Behera.

In addition to the 26 shrines, the government has separately decided to renovate the famed Maa Budhi Thakurani temple in Berhampur, underscoring its commitment to preserving religious and cultural landmarks across the district.

Moreover, as part of the ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ scheme, the government has urged panchayats to contribute to the development of temple infrastructure. A substantial amount of Rs 50 lakh has been sanctioned for each panchayat under this scheme, emphasizing a holistic approach to cultural preservation and community involvement.

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