CUTTACK: After a year of legal battle, the district administration on Thursday, September 2, 2021, demolished Panchamukhi Hanuman temple on Mahanadi river embankment at Ratilo in Salepur block amid tight security arrangement.
As many as six bulldozers were engaged to raze down the main temple and other structures constructed illegally over 2.12 acre of land encroaching the river embankment. To avoid any untoward incident, the district administration had imposed prohibition order under section 144 of CrPC for 24 hours from Wednesday 6 pm to Thursday 6 pm and deployed 10 platoons of police forces. Nine magistrates were also deployed to monitor the demolition drive in the presence of fire service personnel, Energy and Water Resources department officials.
“We have demolished the main temple and other structures illegally constructed on the floodplain area of Mahandi on the basis of National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s order,” said Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani.
On December 15, 2020, the tribunal had directed the district administration to demolish the temple after a committee constituted by it confirmed that the shrine was constructed illegally on floodplain area. The temple trust had also moved the Orissa High Court challenging the order issued by Kissanagar tehsildar for demolition of the temple on July 19, 2021.
While the High Court’s single judge bench had earlier issued an interim order restraining the operation of the tehsildar’s order, another single judge bench on August 27 declined to extend the stay.