Puri: A group of women from Baseli Sahi, Manikarnika Sahi and Harchandi Sahi here Friday staged a sit-in in the locality to protest the state government’s decision to demolish all structures within 75-metre radius of Srimandir.
The women also opposed a survey launched by the district administration to identify the houses and other structures coming under 75-metre radius of the 12th century shrine.
The agitators urged the state government to stop the eviction drive around Srimandir.
On being informed, Puri MLA Jayanta Sarangi reached the spot and held discussions with the agitating women. The agitators, along with Sarangi, later met district collector Balwant Singh at his office and raised their objections to the eviction drive.
“We have been residing near Srimandir for years. We will not allow anybody to take away our ancestral houses and landed properties. We have raised our grievances before the administration four times and urged it not to demolish our houses. The state government and district administration should crush us under the bulldozers before demolishing our houses,” said Minati Panda, a resident of Baseli Sahi.
Panda claimed that the district collector has assured them to communicate their grievances to the state government. “We are ready to die for our ancestral houses. We urge the state government to reconsider its decision and leave our houses intact,” she said.
Expressing concern over the incident, Sarangi said the district administration and the state government should listen to the local residents’ grievances. “The government should seek people’s consensus for implementing any developmental project. It should not inflict any type of pain or suffering on the locals,” said the legislator.
The district collector said they would listen to the grievances of locals and seek their consensus on the issue.
Notably, the state government has announced a compensation package for people whose houses are coming under 75-metre radius of Srimandir. However, the package has failed to pacify the locals.