CUTTACK: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Cuttack district administration on Thursday resumed the demolition drive along NH-5, bringing down four unauthorised religious structures between Bhanapur and Balikuda.
The drive started from Barunei temple, which had been spared the bulldozer on June 25 on account of Rath Yatra. The temple was demolished on Thursday along with temple of the region’s presiding deity of Goddess Mangala.
The religious structures had not only come up illegally encroaching Government land but also hindered the six-laning project undertaken by NHAI. The drive passed off peacefully without resistance amid heavy deployment of security forces. Around five platoons of armed police were deployed to assist the eviction.
Taking steps to prevent resistance, the administration has paid `5 lakh to the villagers for relocation of Barunei temple. Compensation is also being paid to other temple authorities in lieu of the demolition.
Under supervision of NHAI officials, district administration and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), the Pir Baba Mazaar at Pir Bazaar and the adjacent Hanuman temple were also partially demolished as only part of both the structures came in the way of road expansion project.
Along with the religious structures, road side dhabas, restaurants, shops and other establishments that had been constructed illegally were brought down. “The demolitions to remove all the illegal structures will continue till Cuttack city,” Sub-Collector Sudarshan Parida said.