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BMC razes 461 illegal shrines in Mumbai, day before high court deadline ends

As per court directive, the civic body has to demolish all structures that have come up between 1962 and 2009 by Friday; only five left

mumbai Updated: Nov 17, 2017 11:26 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
BMC,hawkers,illegal shrines
A Hanuman temple in Malad was left out of demolition, after CM Devendra Fadnavis intervened when trustees of the temple produced a document to show the structure was built before 1962.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

With only one day to go for the Bombay high court’s deadline to clear religious encroachments on all roads and footpaths, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has demolished all but five shrines across Mumbai by Thursday.

According to the HC directive, the BMC is to raze all structures that have come up between 1962 and 2009 by Friday. Of the 495 shrines slotted for demolition, 28 got a stay order from the court.

Of the five remaining structures, three are crosses in Bandra. The BMC is in talks with local residents to move the crosses amicably, instead of demolishing them.

A Hanuman temple in Malad was left out of demolition, after CM Devendra Fadnavis intervened when trustees of the temple produced a document to show the structure was built before 1962.

Nidhi Choudhary, deputy municipal commissioner and incharge of removal of encroachments, said, “The BMC will demolish the remaining five shrines on Friday. Another temple was slotted for demolition on Thursday, but it managed to secure a last-minute stay, after providing papers to prove it was built in 1948. It is eligible to be categorised in C category -- shrines which can be rehabilitated. We demolished two shrines today [on Thursday].”

Following the HC order, the BMC identified 739 religious structures in the city, of which 207 belonged to the A category, which could be regularized, and 532 to the B category, which could not be regularised, and needed to be demolished. The civic body invited suggestions and objections to the 532, and upon receiving feedback from citizens, finalised 495 that needed to be demolished.

Dyanamurti Sharma, who spoke to Hindustan Times on behalf on the Malad temple trust, said, “The BMC insisted the temple was built before 1960, but we found a paper with BMC’s stamp and remark by Jairaj Pathak, who was the municipal commissioner in BMC in 2007, which proved that this temple was built in 1948. The trustees then approached the CM with these documents, who told the BMC not to demolish it, as it is eligible for rehabilitation. The temple trust will rehabilite the temple at its own cost on Friday morning.”

Meanwhile, the civic body has forwarded the documents of this temple to a special committee appointed by the state, to approve demolition of temples which have come up between 1947 and 1962.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 23:39 IST