The first step for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s dream project for Puri by making the Jagannath Temple’s surroundings encroachment-free and for development of the pilgrimage and tourism city as a world-class urban centre began on Monday.
Amid tight security with deployment of two dozen police platoons, the district administration carried out evictions of structures close to the Meghanad Pacheri (shrine wall) of the Jagannath Temple.
Looking at the palpable tension in the localities on the decision to evict private buildings within a 75-meter radius from temple wall, forces blocked all routes to temple’s surrounding and started dismantling Government structures which were near the temple wall.
Around half a dozen bulldozers with a dozen of trucks and tractors were in place under supervision of seven executive magistrates.
Puri Collector Balwant Singh and SP Umasjankar Dash led the drive near the temple and by evening, no untoward incidents had been reported.
Despite apprehensions within the localities over future of their houses, temples and mutts, nobody really came for opposition of eviction as it was near the temple wall.
Collector Singh said there is nothing to panic over the proposed eviction within 75 meter. He said that before taking a final decision, residents losing houses would be consulted first and then steps would be taken.
Notably, as many ten structures close to the Maghanad Pacheri used as Government facilities like outpost, information centre, shoe-stand, pump house, electric office, besides some private encroachments would be dismantled. The eviction drive is likely to take a day or two to complete.
However, the mutts, temples and ashrams situated near the Meghanada Pacheri would not be demolished right now, which would be renovated from dilapidated conditions, said officials.