The surroundings of the Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Hills may soon be improved with the authorities of the Chamundi Hills Gram Panchayat, on the instructions of the district administration, removing illegal extensions of shops on the road leading to the temple here on Wednesday. Though the step was taken in view of the Dasara festivities, the authorities here maintained that they were committed towards improving the surroundings of the temple and developing the place as a major tourist and religious spot. Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan, who is the Dasara Special Officer, told The Hindu that the move to remove illegal extensions of shops had been taken on account of the festivities and only zinc sheets that protruded from the shops had been removed. This was a temporary measure as part of the arrangements for the festivities, which begins atop the hill on Saturday.

“Moreover, we have prepared a comprehensive master plan for the development of Chamundi Hills. After the completion of the festivities, the works will be set in motion. An alternative place for hawking will be provided to licensed shop-keepers after works commence,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

The gram panchayat authorities on Wednesday brought down the illegal extensions made of zinc sheets and steel pipes of a few shops. The shop-keepers were reportedly directed to clear the illegal structures on their own. But the authorities brought a machine and started removing the extensions of the shops. The petty shops opposite Dasoha Bhavan were also cleared.

On the directions of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the district administration has prepared a comprehensive plan to develop the pilgrimage on the lines of Tirumala-Tirupati temples. Already, work on developing the stairs to the temple has commenced. There are nearly 300 shops atop the hill on the road leading to the temple. There is a proposal to relocate the shops, barring the ones selling flowers, coconuts and other puja materials, near the exit of a bus-stand to be constructed atop the hill.

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