Monday, April 23, 2012

News Article: Over 700 temples face demolition in Bhadrak

TNN Apr 22, 2012, 04.56AM IST

BHADRAK: The Bhadrak district administration has issued eviction notices to 723 religious structures for allegedly encroaching on government land. The move followed a Supreme Court directive on removal of places of worship on government land and relocation of such structures built alongside national and state highways.

Officials said a revenue department survey in 2010-11 had found that 714 temples, seven mosques and two churches had flouted the rules under the Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972.

"Last week, the district administration had served eviction notices to the caretakers of these places of worship and also set a deadline for taking action. Before the government goes for a demolition drive, they have the provision for regularization of the structures through lease, particularly those mentioned in government records. They can also relocate the structures to nearby 'debastali' areas as per government norms," said Debendra Mohapatra, the additional district magistrate of Bhadrak.

The eviction notices have triggered a furor with the BJP district unit chief, Akhaya Sahoo, and the president of the Muslim Jamat of Bhadrak, Abdul Bari, submitting memorandum to the district collector. They said the district administration had not opposed the construction of all these places of worship. Several of them did not create traffic congestion on highways and their demolition would not go well in public, they added.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

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