The Krishna district administration has set the ball rolling for removal of unauthorised religious structures from public places.

In a review meeting with the officials of Police, Revenue, Endowments, Irrigation, Wakf Committee members and several other allied departments on Wednesday, Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal said the move was in response to the Supreme Court's directive prohibiting unauthorised religious constructions on road margins, canal bunds, flood banks, streets, parks and other public places.

The Supreme Court's directive envisages clearance of these ‘encroachments' in three phases after categorising them into three categories of ‘temporary structures', ‘semi-pucca' structures and ‘pucca' structures.

“The unauthorised religious structures that are temporary in nature will be removed in the first phase. Local people will be taken into confidence for removal of semi-pucca religious structures, while clearance of age old permanent structures will be preceded by several rounds of deliberations and a comprehensive action plan,” he explained.

Pointing out that lands belonging to the Irrigation and Endowments departments, besides Wakf Board, were vulnerable to large-scale encroachments, Dr. Uppal asked representatives of the three wings to chalk out a joint action plan before implementing any measure on this count.

Since the move involved public sentiments, the district administration has decided to go soft and relocate most of the temporary structures. Responding to the observation made by the Superintending Engineer of the Irrigation Department that many unauthorised temples had come up along canal and flood banks, Dr. Uppal said each department must submit a detailed report on the number of existing unauthorised religious structures in their respective jurisdictions in a fortnight.

He also wanted the officials to take up an extensive campaign to create awareness among public on the need to remove these structures in the wake of the SC directive.

Endorsing Sub-Collector K. Dharma Reddy's opinion that local media should be involved to spread the word, Dr. Uppal suggested independent division-wise press meets across the district to pave the way for smooth removal of these structures.

The officials were also unanimous on the proposal to conduct awareness meetings in villages involving sarpanches and local religious leaders.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar, Additional SP Satyanarayana and Revenue Divisional Officers of Nuzvid and Gudivada and other officials were present.

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