HUBBALLI: Urban Development Minister UT Khader expressed his helplessness over shifting religious structures coming in the way of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) corridor being developed between Hubballi and Dharwad. His defence over inordinate delay in evacuating these structures is quite strange as he told: “In India, religion first, later development.”
Around 18 such structures were coming in the way of the corridor, but almost all have been removed except a temple at Unkal and a dargah at Bhairideverkoppa village. The issue is hanging in balance due to religious sensitivity attached to them. Demand here is unless the dargah is removed nobody will be allowed to touch the temple. So, the issue has turned contentious, but the minister’s reply was quite amusing.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Khader said, such issues plaguing across the nation while taking up development works. Such issues should be handled locally by elected representatives and officers concerned. By stating that the government should not be forced to act on such sensitive issues, the minister showed reservation to intervene to resolve this issue.
When asked about his role in resolving the issue, the minister earlier tried to escape from responsibility by putting onus on local leaders, but later said he will speak with the officials concerned. The minister, however, later told that he had no idea on the issue which was one among several reasons for delaying the BRTS project and also admitted that the officials have put him in dark.
Over the fresh deadline set for commissioning BRTS project, Khadar said the officials have ensured to complete the work by involving more number of workers, so he was confident the bus could run on the corridor from November 1. If the contractor fails to meet the new deadline, he will be placed under blacklist and action will be taken against officials responsible, he added.
The minister said his priority will be getting the project commissioned by the set deadline and there was no question of running away from taking responsibility.