PIL seeks ‘No Flying Zone’ over Puri Jagannath temple

A PIL was filed in Orissa High Court on Friday seeking judicial intervention for declaring the Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri a ‘No flying zone’.

Social activist and lawyer Nishikant Mishra in his petition has urged the High Court to direct the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), New Delhi, to take immediate steps, and declare the Grand Road (Bada Danda) of the temple town as ‘No flying zone’ temporarily during the Rath Yatra.

Stating that the DGCA had turned down a similar request by the State Government last year on the ground that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken a policy decision not to create any more ‘no flying zone’, Mishra alleged that the civil aviation regulatory body seems to be adopting double standard on the issue. When the Thirumalla Venkateswara temple in Tirupati, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Tower of Silence in Mumbai could come under ‘no flying zone’, why the same preventive measures cannot be extended for the Puri temple, Mishra questioned.

He also questioned that when the Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai and the Rajpath in New Delhi could come under ‘no flying zone’ temporarily during the Republic Day celebrations this year, why the Grand Road in Puri would not get the same security cover during the Rath Yatras, particularly for the Nabakalebar festival.

Making both the Central and State government respondents to the PIL, Mishra has also alleged that neither the Odisha Government nor the local civil administration at Puri are well prepared to prevent possible terror attacks in view of a video clipping that went viral in the social media last year showing an aerial view of the temple.

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