Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Konark, Sep 5:
The Puri district administration today took over the encroached land and construction of Bana Baba Ashram near the famous tourist place of Konark in Odisha. The fencing of the area continues on the spot amidst tight security as we write the report.
“Today we took over the encroached area. The encroached land is being fenced in the presence of officials from the police, forest department and district administration. Police have been deployed on the spot to avoid any untoward incident. There has been no resistance from the Baba or his followers and the work is progressing peacefully,” said Puri Sub Collector Madhusudan Dash.
“We are yet to take any decision of the construction. We need to discuss this matter with the government. The Forest Department will take a call on it based on the government order,” he added.
Bana Baba alias Kalki Baba alias Banambara Moharana vacated his Ashram in Darshanibanta area of Kurujanga panchayat under Konark police station limits at about 11 pm last night, an hour before the deadline given by the district administration. Two platoons of policemen had been deployed to maintain law and order in the area as some of his followers sat on a demonstration against the cease and desist order issued by the administration.
The Baba had admitted that his Ashram had been built on about 10 acres of forest land and had agreed it vacate it. He had requested the administration to use the construction as a public facility instead of demolishing it.
Notably, following a report published in Sambad, Central Division Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Bikas Mohapatra had ordered a probe into the land grab allegation on August 23 and a cease and desist order was issued on August 31.
While the Ashram was initially set up on 10 acres of forest land, later it was extended to 19.60 acres of forest land and 30 decimal of revenue land as per the findings of the surveyors who surveyed the encroachment based on the order of RDC.