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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: The ongoing eviction drive near Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar was strongly opposed by locals today who alleged that they have not been given any notices regarding the demolition.

“How can they demolish our houses without informing us in advance? It is injustice and now we have become homeless,” said a local woman.

However, member of the Enforcement Squad carrying out the eviction, Pramod Kumar Jena said that notices were served 20 to 22 days back.

“We had served notices nearly 22 days back; they are telling lies,” said Jena.

Meanwhile, a bulldozer which was brought to demolish the Tarini temple today had to be taken back after some locals staged protest and sat on a dharna.

"We will not allow the administration to demolish the temple as we had rebuilt it after it was destroyed in cyclone Fani. Let them arrest us and put us in jail, but we will not withdraw our protests," said a local.

Another local said, "When the temple has been constructed legally and is not obstructing traffic why they want to demolish the structure."

Sources said the local administration has given time till today evening to withdraw the protest.

On the other hand, the eviction drive near the hospital behind Lingaraj temple was carried out in the presence of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) officials.

The eviction drive near the temple had resumed today as per schedule after a meeting was held on Wednesday between the local administration and all the stakeholders.

Earlier on Tuesday, the eviction drive was temporarily suspended by the authorities after local traders gheraoed Lingaraj Police Station and staged a massive demonstration protesting eviction.

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