BBMP is zooming in on illegal religious buildings

Report on illegal buildings on government and private land likely to be out by Feb 15

R eligious structures that have come up illegally on roads and footpaths will soon be reduced to debris.

Following stern warning from the High Court, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has embarked on a massive exercise to conduct a comprehensive survey of all illegal religious buildings including temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras, located both on government and private properties. The report, which is a third one in a row, is expected to be ready by February 15.

On Tuesday, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad

called a special meeting of all zonal, divisional officers to give instructions on what details to be included in the survey. The crucial report – which will be submitted in the High Court — will also pave the way for removal, re-location and regularisation of buildings. He instructed officials to apply due diligence while drafting the observations, as the court had rejected two reports submitted in the past.

In a previous survey, officials had identified 1,588 unauthorised religious buildings. The High Court, however, was not happy with the report as it did not have details such as whether the building is located on government property, was it constructed without permission and other details. The first report had identified around 400 illegal structures in all wards across Bengaluru.

No instructions were given with regard to removal of statues of late actors built on government properties.

Meanwhile, the Com-missioner told officials not to bow down to the pressure from elected representatives or local leaders as identifying illegal religious structures is an order from the High Court.

No photos of politicians

No MLA or corporator can display their photos on the government buildings especially on bus stands, RO water plants and even in parks. Manjunath Prasad directed officials to remove photographs of legislators or ex-BBMP councillors displayed on projects funded by the government or BBMP. He however, said that the Governor, Chief Minister and Ministers in the Government are exempted from the rule.

Safety on road

Following a recent fatal accident of a medico on Hennur main road due to bad road, BBMP commissioner instructed officials to provide proper barricades, illumination facility and sign boards in places where the infrastructure work is currently in progress. He also directed engineers to ensure other government agencies such as BESCOM and BWSSB complies with safety measures while undertaking road related works.

At the High Court

n The BBMP had in the last week of January told the High Court that there are 1,588 illegal unauthorised religious structures in Bengaluru

n The court was not satisfied and wanted to know the manner in which the survey was carried out. The Palike has now been given time till Feb 26 to file a complete affidavit

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Sagar Biswas

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