Some of the city’s social activists are supporting the civic action of demolishing religious structures that hinder traffic saying it is being carried out for infrastructure development.
The members of F North Ward Citizen Federation that comprises Dadar, King’s Circle, Matunga, Wadala and some parts of Sion will write a letter to the civic commissioner expressing the ward residents’ support for the action. “Considering the increase in the city’s population and shrinking amenities, the civic body should execute the Supreme Court’s orders. Some of the shrines occupy 90% of the footpath and there is no place for pedestrians to walk. As a result, pedestrians walk on the road which is more risky,” said Nikhil Desai, King’s Circle resident and AGNI coordinator for the F North Ward.
Residents also alleged that some of the structures have been constructed in public spaces by certain elements for monetary benefits. “The city has enough holy places for people from all religions to worship. The civic body should take action on the shrines that are creating public nuisance, irrespective of which community they belong to,” said D Sukumar, member of Dadar-Matunga-Wadala Residents Association.
Besides, residents claimed that the action on such shrines should have been initiated when they had been newly constructed without the required civic permission. “The locals should help civic authorities execute the orders and give us better infrastructure,” said Jaypal S Shetty, a resident of Matunga and a member of the F North Citizen Federation.
A senior official from the F North Ward municipal office said, “As of now we have received orders of not demolishing religious structures prior to 1964. We will follow only state government or the corporation’s orders.”
A senior BMC official said, “As per the court’s order we have demolished 63 illegal religious structures in last fortnight.”