Odishatv Bureau

Khurda: An eviction drive to free encroached land belonging to Puri Jagannath Temple began at Jatni in Khurda district today.

In the first phase of the drive, eviction was carried out on at least three acres of encroached land at Chhanaghara-Kusmati area in Jatni.

The eviction drive was jointly carried out by the temple administration, Khurda district administration and local police.

The drive was undertaken following allegations of encroachment on land belonging to temple by mafias.

“The eviction drive began today and will be carried in a phased manner. If any such encroachments are found, it will be demolished,” informed Additional Settlement Officer of Puri temple administration, Santosh Kumar Satpathy.

“However, the decision to demolish permanent buildings that have been already constructed on temple land will be taken by the temple’s managing committee after legal procedures are over in the High Court,” added the officer.

Meanwhile, the locals have welcomed the move by the administration.

“The decision for eviction is an appropriate move by the concerned administration. If this is maintained, the land of Lord Jagannath can be preserved, “said a local, Bibhuprasad Routray.

After demolishing the boundary walls on and around the land, the district administration has installed signboards to demarcate the land, sources informed.