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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Puri: The eviction drive launched to free up space within 75 metres of Meghanad boundary wall of Jagannath temple is currently underway in Puri. Several commercial establishments around the historic Mangu Mutt were demolished by the Puri administration on Monday.

As per reports, the century old Mutt, which bears religious significance for the Sikh Community, was declared unsafe by the State government. However, the eviction drive today has been undertaken as part of Odisha government’s initiative to demolish all the structures within the 75 metres of the boundary wall of Puri Srimandir to create a 'heritage security zone.'

Earlier, Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh had written to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik in September, urging the latter to reconsider the decision of demolishing the Mangu Mutt.

District administration officials informed that only hotel, lodges and other commercial establishments which were operating from the Mutt’s building will be demolished. However, Mutt's sanctum sanctorum including the main temple will kept intact.

Binaya Kumar Das, Additional Collector of Puri said, “We had discussed it with the Mutt authorities and only the commercial structures are being demolished while the sanctum sanctorum along with main structure, Mahant's chamber (Gaadi) and few others won’t be demolished.”

However, the shop owners and lodge owners expressed resentment over the demolition process.

“The district administrative officials did not give adequate time to shift our belongings. We were informed about the demolition last night," alleged Ranjit Kumar Das, a shop owner.

Meanwhile, four platoons of police force have been deployed to maintain law & order situation during the eviction.

Earlier, some portions of the Emar Mutt, which could not be demolished for some reasons, were also razed today.

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