The Telegraph
Monday , February 25 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Footpaths cleared of concrete structures

Feb. 24: The Kamrup (metro) district administration has launched a drive to clear concrete structures blocking pavement and public thoroughfares.

A team of the district administration led by Guwahati circle officer Pulock Mahanta started the drive on AT Road on Friday and demolished a small temple constructed by locals on the pavement.

The team, assisted by workers of Guwahati Municipal Corporation demolished two temples constructed on the pavement at Bharalumukh and two more at Bishnupur. Shopkeepers at Bharalumukh assisted the team in clearing the structures in their neighbourhood.

“We have respect for every religion and people of all religions but we had to demolish the structures following a Supreme Court order. According to the court order, illegal structures blocking pavements should be cleared. So we decided to remove these structures as they had blocked the pavements in many places and we had received many complaints about the problems being faced by pedestrians,” a senior district administration official said.

The administration had issued a public notice in November urging city residents to remove temples or religious structures constructed on the roadside and pavements. When people failed to comply, the administration launched the drive.

“We are carrying out the drive very cautiously as we have no intention of hurting religious sentiments. We are ready to give some more time to those willing to remove the structures themselves. We have no complaints against temples constructed without affecting the public,” the official said.

According to a survey conducted by the district administration and the GMC, many small temples had been constructed on the roadside and pavements, creating problems for pedestrians. Most of these have been constructed in Athgaon, Bharalumukh, Panbazar, Maligaon, Ganeshguri and some other busy locations here. Many people gather near these temples, particularly on Saturdays, creating problems for pedestrians and traffic cops.

Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri said the team demolished four structures and added they would continue the drive till all illegal structures were cleared. “We will seek help from people to make our drive successful and ensure that similar structures do not crop up again. After all, we need help of residents to make the city a better place to live in,” he said.

The eviction team took the help of police and armed guards to ensure that nothing untoward took place during the drive. “We want to appeal to residents to keep public interest in mind before constructing religious structures on pavements and roads,” the official said.