The district administration would demolish 56 shops around Mahabodhi Mahavihara from Wednesday for alleged land encroachment. A notice has been served on the shopkeepers.
The mahanth (chief priest) of Bodhgaya Math, Sudarshan Giri, confirmed that Gaya city superintendent of police Chandan Kushwaha said the shops would be razed from Wednesday. On July 31, Bodhgaya circle officer Janardan Prasad, served notice on the shopkeepers under the Public Land Encroachment Act, 1956. Sudarshan filed a writ petition with the high court on August 12, challenging the notice.
Justice Jayanandan Singh of the high court observed that it is obvious that since only notice has been issued in terms of Section 3 of the Public Land Encroachment Act, 1956, no coercive action shall be taken against notices unless final orders are passed under the act. The mahanth said a fresh title suit had also been filed with Gaya civil court on Monday to claim the ownership of the land.
Manoj Kumar, owner of shop number 38, said: “There are days when we have to struggle to sell even one item. The shops close around 5-6pm, as the area wears a deserted look after sunset.”