Order to demolish ‘Biju samadhi’ stayed

Puri: The district and sessions court here today stayed the order of the civil judge court (junior division) directing the local municipal authorities to remove the encroachments and construction, including the ‘samadhisthal’ (cremation place) of former chief minister Biju Patnaik on the premises of Swargadwar, within three months.

Adjudicating an appeal filed by the municipal authorities, the court directed that no action can be taken by the district administration in this regard till further order. The next hearing is on February 6.

On January 16, the municipal authorities had moved the court challenging the junior division court’s January 8 denial of a stay on its previous order to demolish the encroachment and samadhi.

The court, in its order, had said if the authorities failed to remove the encroachments, the same would be done at the initiative of the court. It also directed the civic authorities not to erect any structure, including memorial, pandal or statue, which might change the nature, character, location or extent of the land in question other than for public cause or for effective use of it by the community.

The judgment came on a petition filed by Puri resident Ramesh Singh in 1999 in which he has alleged that the local civic body illegally constructed the memorial at Swargadwar the same year. Singh contended that the memorial of any person cannot be built at Swargadwar, which is a public place.