BHUBANESWAR : It seems neither the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) nor the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not care two hoots about the Supreme Court’s order prohibiting construction of religious structures on public places. That four years after one such structure was demolished for encroachment in Chandrasekharpur’s Niladri Vihar area while two more have come up on the same land speak volumes about their indifference.
A recent letter from Revenue and Disaster Management Department to the Housing and Urban Development Department reveals how such constructions have been overlooked by both the BDA and the BMC.
In 2008, the civic authorities had pulled down an unauthorised structure on the same plot but now a bigger temple has replaced it. Besides, another double-storey temple too is under construction.
Interestingly, it was in 2009 the Supreme Court issued a directive to all the states stating that no authorised construction shall be carried out nor permitted in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. So far as existing unauthorised religious structures are concerned, the State governments and Union Territories will have to review their status on a case-to-case basis and take necessary measures. The Chief Secretary too had filed an affidavit to this effect.
In the letter to Housing and Urban Development Department, Revenue and Disaster Management Department stated that the encroachment was brought to the former’s notice in July last year. After the Supreme Court judgment, one finds a bigger temple on the same place and another double-storey temple close by on the same Government land spread over three acre.
“The entire plot has now been encroached upon. Despite the matter being brought to notice of the BMC, the BDA and the GA Department, there is no action. The BMC’s plan for construction of a drain on one side of the plot remains on paper only,” it added.
The Revenue Department expressed concern over the growing tendency to grab vacant public/private land by vested interests. It said in view of the SC direction, neither the GA Department nor the BMC nor the BDA has any option but to take action against offenders in Bhubaneswar.
The Department has asked both the BDA and the BMC to take appropriate action as per rules.