Cuttack bandh call against eviction drive
Cuttack: Several organizations have called for Cuttack bandh on Thursday protesting against the demolition drive of illegal religious structures started by the district administration on Wednesday.
Cuttack City Peace Committee convening a meeting of intellectuals and various religious organisations of the millennium city criticized the State government’s move and termed it ‘anti-people’.
“Whatever the situation may be, we won’t allow our religious monuments to be razed by the government. We have called for dawn-to-dusk Cuttack bandh tomorrow to protest the inhuman exercise,” peace committee secretary Bhikari Das said.
Members of several other organisations raising anti-government slogans also echoed a similar voice.
“Before demolishing the structures the officials must consult and discuss with the organizations to which those belong. We have not received any official communication from either the government or any official regarding this. This is completely insensible,” Bidyadhar Mohanty, a resident of Markat Nagar rued.
But the officials involved in the drive have a different tale to tell.
“This is not at all a new exercise we are undertaking today. The Orissa High Court on January 6, 2011, had directed demolition of unauthorised religious structures constructed on Government land after 1987. Also, we are abiding by a similar order of the apex court,” Cuttack sub-collector Sudarshan Parida said.
Meanwhile unfazed by the bandh call, the district administration has decided to continue the eviction drive tomorrow and aims to pull down as many as 10-15 such structures. It demolished four illegal constructions including Bhakti Vedanta Ashram in Bidyadharpur-Markat Nagar stretch.
To avoid any untoward incident eight platoons of force were deployed in the area.
According to officials, the Revenue administration has identified 166 unauthorised constructions of religious nature that have illegally come up on the public roads and the banks of rivers Mahanadi and Kathjodi within the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) limits. The structure have usurped around 50 acres of land.
The religious structures have been classified into three categories -high risk, medium risk and low risk- on the basis of sensitiveness associated with their surroundings. The low risk structures of the ones with least possibility of resistance or trouble will be razed first.