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Tension in Odisha’s capital city during demolition drive

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, May 27:

Traffic along the National Highway-5 near Baramunda under Khandagiri police limits in Odisha’s capital city was paralysed for nearly two hours as hundreds of villagers of Baramunda village blocked the highway to protest the demolition drive jointly carried out by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and General Administration (GA) department.

Baramunda Durga Mandap padiya ra eka Cement room ku Bhangiga Birodh kari Road block (9)

Commuters had a harrowing time as agitators blocked the traffic on both sides of the highway from 2.45 pm to 4.30 pm leading to a huge traffic jam..

BDA’s  liaison officer Subhranshu Mohanty,told OST that under orders from GA department, a joint team of the BDA, BMC and GA department carried out the demolition of an unauthorised structure that was constructed illegally by the local people at the Baramunda ground where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed a BJP’s Vijay Sankalp Samabesh in February this year.

The illegal structure inside the boundary of the ground was reportedly being used as a cement godown run by a local dealer.

“It was a government land and has been allotted to State’s Sports & Youth Services Department for construction of a Physical Education Training Institute along with a hostel, In the last City Management Group (CMG) meeting, chaired by the chief secretary, had decided to demolish the illegal structure before the development of the ground could be undertaken,” Mohanty said.

Sources said the contract for the developmental work at the Barmunda ground has been entrusted to the Odisha State Police Housing & Welfare Corporation Limited with an estimated cost of Rs 7 crore.

“When the demolition work was nearing completion, hundreds of members of the local youth club along with a number of Baramunda villagers blocked the national highway. Some of them also interfered with the demolition process,” Mohanty added.

The agitators objected to the demolition saying the concerned department had not intimated them about the move earlier.

Six platoons of police force were deployed at the spot to the control the mob, informed zone ACP Nimai Charan Sethi, who was at the spot along with other seven IICs from various police stations. The agitators were removed from the road after Deputy Commisioner of Police Bhubaneswar Nitinjeet Singh intervened in the matter.

A delegation of the agitators along with IIC Chandrasekhapur police station and some officials of BDA and BMC met with the Joint Secretary of Sports department, who showed the letter authorizing them to  carry out the demolition of the structure.