Squatters evicted from Puri bypass

Bhubaneswar: The central eviction monitoring committee of the state government has undertaken a major eviction drive along the Bhubaneswar-Puri bypass to ensure smooth passage for visitors and devotees to Puri during the rath yatra.

The eviction started on Wednesday following a request made by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The eviction will be carried out in three phases where the entire stretch between Pandara and Daya bridge will be made free from encroachment by temporary shops and business units.

The first phase of the drive was conducted on Wednesday jointly by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, the NHAI and police. As many as 108 illegal makeshift structures between Saptasati Temple and Hi-Tech Square near GGP Colony were removed during the drive.

In the second phase of the drive that was conducted on Thursday, the joint squad removed 15 cabins, 41 bamboo polythene sheds and 43 hoardings between Sai Temple Square and Jharapada Square.

Nearly two kilometres of road was made free from encroachment in the first phase. On Thursday, another 2.5 kilometres was added to it.

The first phase drive was conducted in Mancheswar police station area while the second phase work was carried out in Laxmisagar and Saheed Nagar police station areas. The final phase of the drive will be carried out in Dhauli police station area.

"Encroachment along the bypass is going beyond control. Hence, we felt it necessary to remove the makeshift shops and extensions made by other establishments for smooth passage of vehicles mainly during rath yatra," said an official of the NHAI.

The bypass was opened for the public in 2015 mainly to facilitate their movement during the rath yatra. The six-lane highway, which was otherwise supposed to provide a free and safe passage to people, later fell prey to encroachment by street vendors.

"The bypass was a much needed facility and was opened at a right time during the Nabakalebar festival in Puri. There has to be a co-ordinated effort by all stakeholders to keep this thoroughfare free from encroachment," said Sanjay Rout, a resident of Rasulgarh.


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