92 illegal religious structures to be razed
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92 illegal religious structures to be razed

August 5, 2021

Pre-dawn demolition drive begins, to continue for 2 months

Mysore/Mysuru: In all, 92 identified illegal religious structures at public places in the city including roads, junctions and parks will be demolished in two months. The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) launched the demolition drive yesterday and the authorities have chosen pre-dawn operations to avoid people crowding the place and protesting. 

Armed with earth movers and trucks, teams from the MCC arrive at identified places as early as 4 am and demolish illegal structures and the entire operation is over by 6 am. “We are taking this measure not to draw attention from the people and also certain vested interests who have an eye on public properties. If the demolition location is publicised, there are chances of protests and opposition from localities,” an officer from the MCC told Star of Mysore. 

Soon after the demolition, all the religious edifices and the idols are shifted to trucks and carried away from the location. Only the rubble remains. At 4 am today, a religious structure at Nanjumalige was demolished. It was built around a peepal tree and women used to sell vegetables around the structure. Yesterday one structure was demolished at the Railway Park, near Surya Bakery in Ward No. 3. 

These demolition drives have been assigned to Corporators, all Zonal Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, Development Officers, Environmental Engineer and also Assistant   Engineers. 

The assistance from the Police is also taken to avoid clashes while razing the structures. 

MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy said that a deadline of two months has been given to all Zonal officers to complete the drive. The MCC and MUDA have been given a go ahead with demolition with Police protection in their respective jurisdictions. This is based on a High Court order and the Court has been pulling up officers for not abiding by the law and allowing the structures to thrive. 

Extent of illegality

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Not all structures will be demolished and the ones that are set to be razed are identified according to the extent of the illegality. The Government order says that those structures that have minimum violations can be regularised. Those structures that are totally illegal and there is no chance of regularisation, have to be demolished, officers said.  

The MCC Commissioner said that the Zonal Officers of all nine MCC Zones will take up the drive once a week and will remove all 92 illegal structures. 

Nearly 1,242 new illegal religious structures came up in public places in Karnataka after the Supreme Court issued orders in 2009 to demolish/relocate/ regulate unauthorised structures from public places. Of the 1,242 illegal structures, only 1,054 have been demolished so far.

Chief Secretary letter

According to a letter by State Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar to Deputy Commissioners on July 1, 2021, Karnataka has 6,395 unauthorised religious structures in public places. The number of such structures was 5,688 on Sept. 29, 2009. In 12 years the State Government was able to demolish/relocate/ regulate only 2,887 structures.

The State Chief Secretary’s letter has also instructed district administrations and urban local body officials to prepare and execute a plan of action for demolition of at least one illegal religious structure per taluk and per division every week.

As per the documents attached along with the letter of the Chief Secretary, Dakshina Kannada district, with 1,579 illegal religious structures, has the highest number of unauthorised religious structures in public places followed by Shivamogga (740), Belagavi (612), Kolar (397), Bagalkot (352), Dharwad (324), Mysuru (315) and Koppal (306).

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