Puri: The ongoing demolition drive to remove all structures within 75-metre from the wall of the Srimandir to create heritage and security corridor has entered into second phase.
In the first phase Languli, Emar and Bada Akhada mutts were demolished and in the second phase Mangu mutt is being demolished.
As part of the second day of demolition drive, Tuesday, four heavy duty excavators were pressed into service and about 60 per cent of the mutt, including two hotels and a restaurant operating from the unsafe building of the mutt, were demolished.
The authority said it would take another day to complete the demolition.
While demolition was in progress, Sikh Baba Samsher Singh along with some Sikh devotees staged a protest at the site. They claimed that the mutt has historical link with Sikh Guru Nanak Dev and it should not be demolished. They had also raised the issue in September.
Even Panjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in his tweet had urged his Odisha counterpart to preserve the Sikh institution.
Puri sub-collector Bhabataran Sahu told Baba Samsher Singh that this mutt belongs to Udasin sect and there was no Granth Sahib or ‘Langer’ conducted in the mutt.
The life-size statue of Srichand, son of Guru Nanak the founder of Sikh faith, is worshipped according to traditional Odia system.
Sikhs never visit this mutt as images of Lord Jagannath, Sridevi, Bhudevi and Hanuman were worshipped in a small temple located in mutt complex.
The mutt was established by saint Mangu Das in 17th century AD, the sub-collector said.
Sikhs from various parts of country in a group met district Collector Balwant Singh Tuesday and demanded to halt the demolition of Mangu mutt.
The Collector, however, told them the illegal encroachments and unauthorised commercial establishments operating from unsafe buildings of mutt were being demolished.
Mutt temple with all deities and ‘Gaadi’ of Mahant would be preserved, he told the visiting Sikh delegates.
Earlier, the administration had demolished three houses in Manikarnika Sahi which were sold to administration by its owners. The demolition would go smooth as most of the owners of the property coming under the 75-metre zone have expressed their willingness to sell their property to the government to avail 10 per cent extra fund under the rehabilitation and resettlement package announced by the chief minister.
Two important market complexes of this city one alongside the Badadanda and the other Mahodadhi Market at Mochisahi were demolished.
These were part of developing Puri as an international heritage place.
Official sources said modern market complex would be built at the demolished sites.
After demolition of Mangu Mutt, the Sana Chhata and Radhaballav Mutts were in the line of demolition.
With demolition of these structures, the entire Singhadwar area would be cleared under heritage corridor and operation would begin on the Southern side of Meghanad Wall, said an officer in charge of demolition drive.
On the other hand, the Revenue officials demarcated land for the trumpet bridge connecting the Jagannath Ballav and Malatipatpur bus terminal. A large number of private property would be acquired and structures therein would be demolished soon it is learnt.
Eviction at Swargadwar begins
eanwhile, the demolition of unauthorised structures in Swargadwar burning ghat also began, Tuesday. A number of tomb stones were demolished along with the ‘Sradha Gruha’.
However, shifting the ‘Samadhi’ of legendary leader Biju Patnaik from Swargdwar was stalled till the administration finalises its relocation site outside the Swargadwar burning ghat.
Attempt was on to provide better facilities for people coming to cremate in this burning ghat as part of heritage development project.