Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) have started initiating the process to make ‘Ekamra Kshetra’, the abode of Lord Lingaraj and heritage hub of the Temple City beggar-free on a priority basis.
The move is a part of the beautification and developmental work of the state government’s Ekamra Kshetra Amenities and Monumental Revival Action (EKAMRA) Plan.
Efforts are on to rehabilitate the beggars or destitute roaming around the temple by providing livelihood support and to bring them to the mainstream under the ‘Sahaya’ scheme of the Odisha government.
The BMC has started the survey in the Old Town area to identify beggars and homeless people. The Civic Body will also help the beggars who want to return to their home, and those who don’t wish to return will be rehabilitated in various shelter homes.
The Administration has deployed Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and government officials in identifying beggars and shifting them to shelter homes.
In another good development, so far about 90 per cent land acquisition has been completed for the Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Project. The rest of land acquisition will be completed by end of this month under the Ekamra Kshetra Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, said a BMC official, who is the Nodal Officer for Land Acquisition.
Meanwhile, the land acquisition process and pre-construction work on the 60 feet alternate road starting from Sanitarium Chhak to Lingaraj Temple has started. The development of alternate road will help pedestrians and devotees reaching the temple smoothly and without much inconvenience even during Maha Shivaratri.
To make the land acquisition process hassle-free for elderly and senior citizens, the BMC officials are reaching out their homes to complete the paperwork at their doorsteps considering their healthcare need and limitations during this pandemic time.
“We are very pleased and satisfied the way BMC has helped us in finalizing the paperwork and making the agreement for land acquisition,” said Shri Priyabrata Mahapatra, who is giving 38 decimal of plot near Bindusagar lake for construction of the alternate road.
In addition to the above steps, the City Administration has requested traders and business establishments in the Ekamra Kshetra to replace the signages by uniform heritage, interpretative, directional signages in the area.
The heritage signage should be designed in a way that it respects the age, architecture, and scale of the historic building as well as the historic nature of the overall streetscape.