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Raze axe on encroachers

Corporation acts ahead of hockey event

Squatter free: A bulldozer removes a shed in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: To revamp the city ahead of the Men's Hockey World Cup to be held in November, the municipal corporation has resumed drives to evict illegal encroachments.

On Tuesday, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation conducted three simultaneous drives at Ghatikia, near Science Park at Acharya Vihar and another near Chitrakut Ashram at Unit IX. In Ghatikia, the authorities succeeded in freeing 2,000sqft of government land after demolishing six temporary houses.

Near Science Park, one temporary hotel and a fast food stall was demolished, while near Chitrakut Ashram at Unit IX, one unauthorised boundary wall was demolished.

"We have drawn up a list of drives and are conducting them in a planned manner. We have expedited the process in view the upcoming hockey world cup," said liaison officer S.S. Mohanty.

Mohanty said the next target would be the area surrounding Kalinga Stadium. "The eviction drives around Kalinga Stadium will not be easy because of the presence of slums in the vicinity. We have planned to rehabilitate them first and then launch the drive," Mohanty said.

Last Saturday, the authorities had conducted similar drives at Gandamunda, Raj Mahal Square and Civil Court premises. The drive at Gandamunda was to facilitate inauguration of the Art and Crafts Museum, the one at Raj Mahal was to ease the traffic flow and in the court premises for setting up the judicial court complex.

"We have decided to create a land bank after freeing the encroached government land and use it later for several development projects. We are already auctioning such free land for hotel projects. The encroachment is rampant in the city, but we are not going to spare anyone," said a civic body official.

Unit II resident Sribatsa Patra said encroachment affected the beauty of the city and hurt the state exchequer.

"The administration has come up with several schemes to rehabilitate the encroachers, but they continue to resurface. The authorities are right in evicting them," said Patra.

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