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Culture Ministry puts NMA draft heritage bylaws for Odisha on hold

Bhubaneswar: After drawing flak from servitors, locals and politicians, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has decided to put the National Monument Authority’s (NMA) draft heritage bylaws for Odisha on hold.

The development came after protests against the bylaws from different quarters in the State intensified and a delegation of BJP leaders met Patel demanding the withdrawal of the draft rules. Union Minister Pratap Sarangi had also written to Patel on February 9 urging the Centre for a rethinking over the matter.

In response to Sarangi’s letter, Patel clarified that the concerned officers have been directed to keep the proposal on hold and the final decision will be taken after a detailed deliberation.

“I have asked the concerned officers to keep the proposal on hold. The final decision on the same would be taken only after the matter is discussed and deliberated with all the stake holders and considering their views there on,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi has suggested the state government to undertake the development activities in the heritage areas as per the rule books.

“Heritage areas must be developed. But route to such development is not through withdrawal/abeyance of bylaw. AMSAR Act, 1958, still prevails and it supersedes all. Odisha government must seek permission from NMA/ASI before implementing projects in the prohibited/ regulated areas. Let’s do what is right,” Sarangi tweeted.

Earlier on February 8, the Centre had announced the withdrawal of the draft heritage bylaws of Shri Jagannath Temple issued by NMA following State-wide outrage.

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