A special squad of the Coimbatore Corporation, constituted to remove unauthorised buildings, demolished two temples on Masakkalipalayam Road in the city on Thursday in order to enable its widening.
Led by Town Planning Officer M. Soundararajan, the squad demolished a Vinayaka Temple measuring 600 sq.ft. and an Amman Temple measuring 1200 sq.ft.
Assistant Town Planning Officer S. Ravichandran said the temples, located at D. Jayavarthanavelu Nagar Junction, occupied a large portion of the 100 ft wide road.
The official said Masakkalipalayam Road was one of the 71 roads taken up by the Corporation for widening and re-laying in view of the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held here from June 23 to 27. These road works would be carried out at Rs.26 crore, sanctioned last month by the State Government.
About 70 to 80 people in the neighbourhood protested against the demolition of the temples. But, the officials told them about the need to create accident-free roads by removing encroachments.
The official said that the protest ended immediately and the Corporation team could go on with the demolition. “They understood the purpose behind our efforts.”
The official said the Corporation had decided to remove the temples only because the people had not removed it despite talks with them on this over the last couple of months.
“We engaged a priest to perform the necessary pujas for an hour to remove the idols.
This conveyed to the people that the demolition was not meant to hurt their sentiments. The idols were brought to the Corporation's main office and installed at a temple behind the building,” Mr. Ravichandran said.