Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NMC finally 'notices' illegal religious structures at Sonegaon

NAGPUR: Most people will agree that encroachers have no religion. However, the same people may be less sure when asked to comment on religious structures encroaching upon the city's public utility land.
Despite several Supreme Court and high court orders against encroachments, there is no respite from such religious structures. NMC records say that there are 315 religious and 848 non-religious illegal structures, giving ample testimony to the lackadaisical attitude regarding such encroachments. And surprisingly, more such structures continue to come up.

Two such illegal religious structures have come up on the banks of Sonegaon Lake near HB Estate Colony. One is a Buddha Vihar while the other is a Goddess Durga temple.

Residents of HB Estate Colony, Swawlambi Nagar and Sonegaon Lake said that some months back a few residents had performed a puja and constructed the temple. Recently, during Navratri, an idol was also installed on the structure in around 1,000 sq ft land.

With NMC's Laxmi Nagar zone remaining a silent spectator to the encroachment, a Buddha Vihar also came up on the banks of the temple recently. The Buddha Vihar has also obtained electric supply from MSEDCL. It has erected a board and claims to have started a clinic for poor people and a library for residents.

Those involved in building and/or running both religious structures refused to comment for this article.

A group of residents said on condition of anonymity that both police and corporation officials are doing nothing despite being empowered to act against illegal encroachments.

"Both civic body and city cops can initiate action under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966; City of Nagpur Corporation Act, 1948; Indian Penal Code, and Bombay Police Act," said residents.

Now, Laxmi Nagar zone has finally woken up from its slumber. Assistant municipal commissioner (Laxmi Nagar zone) SM Jaidev said they have served notices to both illegal structures. He said both will be razed soon.

The NMC, however, failed to give a convincing reply when asked why and how these structures came up in the first place?

"Staffers refuse to remove illegal structures as representatives from these religious structures not only use foul language but also threaten them with dire consequences," claimed an NMC officer. "They also warned that if we demolished these structures it would trigger communal tension," he added.

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