BDA holds survey of religious structures on government land

Staff Reporter
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To submit report to Revenue and Disaster Management Department

A temple situated right between a mall and a busy road in Bhubaneswar. —Photo: Lingaraj Panda
A temple situated right between a mall and a busy road in Bhubaneswar. —Photo: Lingaraj Panda

With unauthorised religious structures sprouting unchecked on government lands, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority has undertaken an extensive survey of such structures in the capital city.

Once survey is completed, the BDA would submit the report to the Revenue and Disaster Management for exploring the legal means to clear the encroachments.

“We have appointed three amins to carry out survey of religious structures on government land in BDA area. They would point out extent of government land encroached upon for erecting these structures,” said BDA enforcement officer Sarita Dhanwar here on Friday.

RDM department had sought a report regarding removal, relocation and regularisation of unauthorised religious structures on public land.

“There has not been any clear-cut instruction regarding clearing encroachment. If government orders for removing encroachment, we would enforce the order,” Ms Dhanwar said.

One of the most commonly adopted tricks to encroach land and exploit it commercially in Bhubaneswar is to establish a religious structure especially temple.

A good number of temples have come up in Niladri Vihar, Chandrasekharpur, Khandagiri, Damana, Pokhariput and Aiginia area in the State.

A top RDM department official said although Supreme Court had taken a stringent view on encroachment of public land by way of establishing shrines, the government had not been able to make those lands encroachment-free.

A temple in Niladri Vihar area continued to get bigger in size even though more than five letters were communicated between RDM department and General Administration Department for removal of the encroachment between 2010 and 2012.

A small temple was established on a small patch of land in Niladri Vihar in early 2000. In 2008, the temple was demolished by GA department, BDA and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

Ironically, after 2009 Supreme Court verdict that says no authorised construction should be carried out or permitted in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwar on public streets, public parks and other public land, a bigger temple came up on the same place. By 2012, the temple premise was spread over two to three acres.

Encroachment of public land does not confine to perform religious activities. In due course of time, the premises of religious structures are used for organising social parties such as marriages and birthday.

It will submit report to Revenue and Disaster Management Department



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