As part of its drive to rid main roads of unauthorised structures that impeded vehicle and pedestrian movement, the Coimbatore Corporation's special squad demolished on Sunday two temples that was encroaching Kamarajapuram Road.
Explaining the need for the demolition, Assistant Town Planning Officer S. Ravichandran said the road linked Brooke Bond Road with Mettupalayam Road and was the main route from Ramnagar on the eastern side of the city to R.S. Puram and other areas west of the railway line.
An 800 sq.ft. Bannari Amman Temple obstructed traffic and road widening on the southern side of this stretch and a 100 sq.ft. Nandavillakku Temple choked traffic at the Kamarajpuram Road-Mettupalayam Road Junction.
Women residents in that area expressed their resentment over the demolition, but were told by the officials that temples had to be removed if the road had to be accident-free. Mr. Ravichandran said footpaths would be laid on either side of the road, a facility that was not available on this stretch now.
In keeping with its latest approach, the Corporation engaged a priest to remove the idols as per Hindu customs.
The idols were later installed at Bharathi Park.
This was the second instance of demolition of temples in the last five days.
The civic body removed two temples unauthorisedly constructed on Masakalipalayam Road in its East Zone.
The special squad headed by Town Planning Officer M. Soundararajan was constituted by Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra to check unauthorised construction on roads and reserved sites marked for public purposes.
Officials said the civic body was able to convince the public on the need to remove or re-locate temples that occupied sizeable portions of main roads.
While holding talks with residents, the Corporation was explaining to them that it was removing the places of worship only when it was clear that they were unauthorised and obstructing traffic.
The temples on Kamarajapuram Road were demolished on Sunday only after holding talks for close to two months with the local people. Councillor of Ward 35 N. Murugesan played a key role in convincing the residents on the need to remove the temples, the town planning official said.
On the action taken so far at various places in the city, Mr. Ravichandran said the squad had stopped the construction of a place of worship on a reserved site of 50 cents at Velandipalayam. The construction had reached the basement stage.
Similar action had been taken on Ramalingam Road (West) at R.S. Puram and Meena Estate.
The Corporation was identifying places where such structures impeded traffic. The Corporation wanted to remove a temple on Bharathiar Road at Pappanaickenpalayam.
While those managing the temple had removed a mantap to reduce congestion, the Corporation said the entire structure should be removed from the road in order to ensure smooth and safe flow of traffic and pedestrian movement.