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Tough stance on squatters

Bhubaneswar: Authorities will remove a temple and a slum settlement around Kalinga Stadium for smooth conduct of the hockey world cup here in November.

If need be, they will snap power connections to the illegally built temple, said sources. The authorities have identified the slum near Jayadev Vihar Square and the temple near the stadium's gate No. 9.

Though local people have been protesting against the eviction drive, the authorities, this time, have decided to be strict and go ahead with it.

It has asked the electricity authorities to snap power to the temple, and in case of the slum, heavy deployment of police has been sought during the eviction drive.

The authorities have fixed a mid-May deadline to for the job. "We have decided to be strict with the removal of the temple. In case of the slum, we are in talks with the dwellers, and they will be rehabilitated," said a civic official.

In a letter, sports secretary Vishal Dev has requested the Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha to disconnect power to the temple and relocate a transformer near it to go ahead with the eviction.

"We have decided to remove the temple to pave way for the main access to the stadium's south stand. Besides, it will also be the landing point of the foot overbridge to be constructed," said Dev.

In another letter, Dev has requested police commissioner Y.B. Khurania to provide police to civic authorities for the demolition drive. He stated that it was a time-bound task to be completed by May 15.

"Some people are influencing the local residents to oppose the temple removal," said a sports department official.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said the slum dwellers would be evicted and rehabilitated in the various proposed housing schemes of the state government.

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