Surat Municipal Corporation
SURAT: Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has identified 450 religious structures that exist on public land in the city, and of these only 60 have some history. The rest have been built in the past two decades and would be treated as encroachments, SMC sources said.
Former mayor Raju Desai had moved a proposal for the removal of such structures during his term, but failed to back it up with any action, they informed.
The issue is once again in the news as Desai had raised it in the SMC's general board meeting held recently.
"It is a question of faith. People have to remove such structures on their own for the benefit of the society," said mayor Niranjan Janjmera.
"It is a sensitive issue. Some religious structures could be removed by SMC during relocation of slum dwellers. However, this was possible because of the active help from the members of the community. We will soon come up with a plan to relocate religious structures on public land. They would be dealt with in a case to case basis," municipal commissioner Milind Torwane said.
Some of the religious structures that exist on public land are on Dumas Road, Chowpatty in Athwalines, riverfront area and Udhna BRTS road in the city. There is regular traffic jam in the areas where these religious structures exist.
A SMC officer said, "Many of these structures have come up suddenly. However, we have to be cautious before going hammer and tongs against them. This is because vested interests can give a communal angle to their demolition, though the structures exist either on state government or SMC land."