Shrines in City on encroached land | india | Hindustan Times
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Shrines in City on encroached land

EITHER THERE are no religious structures built upon encroached Government land in Bhopal or, at least, the district administration has no idea about them.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 14:27 IST

EITHER THERE are no religious structures built upon encroached Government land in Bhopal or, at least, the district administration has no idea about them.

This startling revelation was made after an applicant demanded information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act – 2005 about religious structures in Bhopal that have encroached government land completely or partially.

In reply, the office of Bhopal Collector has informed that it has no data available on the matter and hence it was not possible to provide the sought information.

The applicant, Ajay Dubey, had applied in Bhopal Collectorate on April 24, 2006. Besides seeking information about religious structures built on encroached land, the applicant had asked whether the district administration had taken any action against such illegal constructions till date. He had also inquired if the State High Court or the State Government had ever passed any directives or instructions on the matter.

The district administration’s reply, provided on May 18, categorically expresses inability to provide the sought information. The letter, signed by the Public Information Officer of the rank of Joint Collector, mentions that the ‘Land Records Section’ and ‘Litigation Section’ have no data available about religious structures built upon encroached government land.

The letter further gives the applicant the option of an appeal against the order within 30 days to Bhopal Collector. In pursuance of that, Dubey has filed an appeal on May 26.

The Appellate Officer, Bhopal Collector Sanjay Shukla, told the Hindustan Times today that the information sought was of a very general nature and vague. “It is not possible to provide data in the form the applicant has requested”, Shukla maintained.

He added, as a corollary it was naturally not possible to answer the second question of the applicant, pertaining to whether the district administration had taken any action against religious structures built on encroached land. “Since there is no data available on the first question hence the second (question) does not apply”, Shukla reasoned.

The Collector also asserted that the district administration had not received any directives or instructions in this regard from the State Government or the High Court.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, had passed an order on December 9, 2005, directing the State Government to remove religious places constructed by encroaching upon the land of government and semi-government bodies.

The court’s division bench comprising Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik and Justice Ram Kishore Gupta had also instructed the Director of Town and Country Planning Department, Bhopal, and district administration officials of Jabalpur to remove such unauthorised religious constructions erected on public land or municipal land and to submit the work’s progress report to the court every month.