| A Hanuman temple on Boring Canal Road in Patna on which a demolition notice has been served. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Patna, Sept. 1: Gods in the city are on the radar of bulldozers.
The Patna district administration has identified at least 400 illegal religious structures built on encroached land in different parts the state capital and has begun slapping demolition notices on them.
Seven such temples, including one which is 34-years-old, were served notices last week.
“A survey regarding the identification of religious structures built in public places is on and over 400 across Patna have been identified. Notices are being served to these temples for their removal in a phased manner. The action is in accordance with a directive of Patna High Court four months ago on removal of religious structures in public places. These structures cause a lot of traffic problems as they encroach on government land,” Mahendra Gupta, circle officer, Patna Sadar, told The Telegraph.
Sources in the district administration said a deadline was being set for each of these structures, failing which they would be demolished.
“Demolition will be based on the availability of forces with the police. These structures are built on encroached government land,” Gupta added.
The list includes the famous Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple located on Boring Canal Road and built 34 years ago. This was among the temples slapped with the notice last week.
Among the others which received similar notices last week are the temples located on Boring Road near Sahdev Mahto Marg and the one near Chanakya National Law University.
“According to the notice received last week, a deadline of August 29 was given to us for the removal of the temple. A couple of days ago, we filed a writ petition in the high court against the notice. The Panchmukhi Temple was built in 1978 and is one of the major landmarks of this area. It occupies an area of a maximum of 250 square feet. This temple has got drinking water facility all the time and many daily wage workers use it, particularly in summer. The building construction department is coming up with a huge parking lot along the entire stretch and hence the notice has been served. We want that this temple shouldn’t be touched as it is very old and its presence won’t make much of a difference,” Vikas Kumar Singh, an office-bearer of the temple management, told The Telegraph.
District officials said quite a few religious structures have already been removed. “There was a Sai Baba temple which had suddenly come up on the Boring Canal Road stretch. Last month, the administration removed it. Though an exact figure cannot be given at this time, quite a few temples have been removed,” an official said.
Residents support the administration. “There are many religious structures in Patna and most of them encroach on roads, causing major traffic problems. The Boring Road area is one of the worst-affected. We can always worship at home and our love for God won’t go away. But civic problems need to be addressed first,” said Sudhir Kumar, a resident of Boring Road.