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Eviction Drive To Continue Near Lingaraj: BMC Commissioner

Bhubaneswar: Despite protests, the halted eviction drive near Lingaraj Temple will resume as per schedule, BMC Commissioner, Prem Chandra Chaudhary informed media after a meeting with all the stake holders.

A widespread agitation by the local traders whose shops & establishments near the ancient shrine were razed in the eviction drive on Monday forced the BMC and BDA to temporarily suspend the drive and call for a meeting to resolve the issue today.

Speaking to the media, BMC Commissioner said, “The meeting with the delegation of traders was fruitful. We have already prepared a plan for the rehabilitation of affected traders in the area. Steps will be taken to rehabilitate permanent landholders as per law while arrangements are being made for resettlement of small traders and encroachers for the time being.”

Senior Congress leader and Jatani MLA Sura Routray said, “BMC Commissioner has assured us that the affected small shop owners would be rehabilitated first before carrying on with the eviction drive. They would be duly compensated too.”

“The unauthorised vendors and shops doing business there may be demolished without any compensation though,” Routray added.

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State BJP Vice President, Samir Mohanty, who was present in the meeting said, “The fact that the civic body needs 2/3 more days to finalise the beautification plan is proof enough that the master plan hasn’t been prepared yet. The government is taking up this eviction drive in haste.”

However, the Brahmin Nijog Secretary, Biranchi Pati said, “All the assurances that the BMC Commissioner has given us are only verbal. No written assurance has been provided to us. If the eviction drive resumes without rehabilitating the affected traders, we will again take up to the streets to protest.”

Notably, the first phase of eviction drive near Lingaraj Temple that commenced on Monday saw a number of small shops and establishments razed by the authorities but it was suspended on Tuesday after local shop owners and affected traders demanded proper rehabilitation before eviction.

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