Puri admin begins eviction of structures adjacent to ‘Meghnad Pacheri’

Puri: The Puri district administration began eviction of all unauthorised structures adjacent to the ‘Meghnad Pacheri’ (shrine wall) of the Puri Srimandir today.

Reportedly, the structures including police outpost, toilet and some other buildings were bulldozed in the presence of 24 platoons of police force, Collector Balwant Singh, SP Umashankar Das and eight Magistrates. The eviction process began at 6 AM today.

“We will ensure that essential services are not disrupted. The eviction process is underway in the presence of adequate number of police and Magistrates,” Binaya Kumar Dash, Additional Collector of Puri said.

However, a decision on eviction of structures within 75 metre of the shrine wall will be taken later, Dash added.

Earlier, the State Cabinet had decided to evict the structures on basis of recommendations made by Justice BP Das Commission of Inquiry to ensure security of Puri Srimandir and safety of devotees visiting the 12th century shrine.

Meanwhile, servitors, members of Mukti Mandap and Jagannath Sena have questioned the eviction process saying that how the State government can evict the structures without a public hearing. They have also said they will move the Supreme Court against the government’s decision.

“As per the orders of ASI and Orissa High Court, unauthorised structures adjacent to the ‘Meghnad Pacheri’ are being evicted. A toilet and some other buildings, which are in dilapidated condition and some unauthorised shops at Dakhina Dwara were evicted, ” said the Collector.

“The ASI is carrying out the eviction drive. The works department is providing machines for the drive. We are also supervising the eviction process,” said P Samantara, the executive engineer of Works department.

On the other hand, servitors of the temple and the local residents have questioned the eviction process saying that the administration is evicting the structures adjacent to Meghnad Pacheri without any rehabilitation.

” The rituals of the Lord Jagannath and his siblings will be affected as some mathas are being evicted by the administration. The Raghaba Das matha, which supplies ‘tahia’ on Snana Purnima, will fail to provide the same after eviction,” said Markand Das, a servitor of the temple.