BENGALURU: Despite a court order directing the Railways to remove the encroachment made by a temple in its property a year ago, the Bengaluru Railway Division is yet to do so. Two reasons are cited for the delay: Backlash from devotees if a religious structure is demolished and the lack of will from a section of officials who are alleged to have connived with the encroachers.
A senior temple authority said the land belongs to Railways but they are willing to relocate the temple only if Railways provides them land nearby, on lease. Land records reveal the 300 sqm of encroached property. Sources in the Railways told The New Indian Express that the temple was originally a makeshift structure with just an idol. “It dates back to decades ago. Many porters used to pray. It was only a committee that collected donations and created a proper structure for it and they encroached on railway land,” a source explained.
While one end of the temple opens on the footpath of the station, the other end encroaches into the space near the Yoga centre of the Supervisors Training Centre of the Railways. The underground Metro railway lines connecting the Kempegowda Interchange Metro station with the KSR Metro Railway station had to run beneath the temple and so it was demolished and rebuilt by BMRCL adjacent to it after 2010.
When Railways tried to take control of the temple two years ago, the temple authorities filed a petition in the civil court requesting it not to be touched. “The court ruled in favour of the Railways and asked it to evict the temple,” a reliable source said.
It has been 18 months since the order was given. “Railways is apprehensive of initiating the eviction proceedings as similar steps initiated in others parts in the city was met with opposition. If you look at the third entry for KSR station, it juts into the boundary of the entry,” a source said.
K V Mani, Secretary of the Sri Ayappa Temple committee said the temple was built by them in 1989. “BMRCL rebuilt it for us on a smaller plot after 2010. Metro authorities said they do not have any land. We are ready to move if Railways is ready to give us alternate land running to 894sqm, 600m away at Okalipuram in the form of lease,” he said.