Illegal encroachments in front of ISKCON temple demolished

Bhubaneswar: After much hue and cry over the acute waterlogging on NH-16, a joint eviction squad led by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday evicted the unauthorised constructions in front of Iskcon temple here.

Palpable tension prevailed at the spot as several servitors and followers of ISKCON opposed eviction of a ‘Samadhi Peeth’ and sought time from enforcement authorities to relocate the structure.

The devotees guarded the Samadhi peeth while police had a tough time to clear the area. A scuffle between Iskcon followers and police was also reported after the latter tried to drive away agitators from the spot. One person has been injured in the incident.

Sources said police resorted to mild lathi-charge after agitators allegedly pelted stones at them.

“We had written a letter to BMC that the structure will be removed by the temple authorities. The corporation should have at least given us some time as notice was issued on July 25,” alleged a protestor.

A sobbing devotee said, “Please do not demolish our guru’s memorial.”

“To hide their fault only, the administration is blaming us. The matter should be probed properly,” said Nabakishore Das, Mahanta of Iskcon temple, Bhubaneswar.

Expressing similar views, the temple’s public relation officer, Radha Kanta Patra, said, “They should apologise as they are demolishing structures without giving us sufficient time.”

Three JCB machines and six squads of BMC, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have been engaged to carry out the eviction of illegal structures constructed in front of the ISKCON temple, reports said.

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Encroachments between Indradhanu Market and IRC Village in Nayapalli was razed down during today’s eviction drive, informed a senior BMC official.

Two platoons of police force have been deployed to maintain law and order during the eviction drive.

BMC officials on the other hand maintained that Iskcon temple authorities were given ample time to demolish the structures. Clear instructions were issued as the structure was blocking drainage system and leading to waterlogging in the area.

“The Iskcon authorities had come for discussion. Despite that they did not remove the encroachments due to which we are demolishing the structures for the larger interest,” said Bhabani Shankar Chaini, additional commissioner, BDA.

“The government officials will be more active if rainfall occurs with that intensity in coming days. Effort should be made to clear encroachment and make the city beautiful,” stated Piyush Rout, Urban Planner.