BHUBANESWAR: Somu's Cave, a bar-cum-restaurant, and a prime landmark at Jayadev Vihar in the city has been razed by a bulldozer of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) for allegedly violating building code norms.
The enforcement squad of the BDA on Friday started the process of demolishing alleged unauthorized portions of the structure, spread over 6,000sqft. Though a city businessman owned a 3,740sqft plot and was granted permission by the BDA in 1998 to construct a residential building on 1,139sqft, he allegedly encroached on adjacent government land and carried out construction work beyond the permissible area, said BDA's enforcement officer Deba Prasad Dash said.
"Instead of a residential building, he built a restaurant, bar and commercial shop on the plot. He not only flouted the building norms, but also encroached on government land by blocking a public road and drain," Dash said.
Sources said the violation came to BDA's notice in 2000. But the demolition drive started after 14 years due to legal process. "The legal process ended in November 2013. We are not going to raze the 1,139-sqft area for which permission was granted for construction. Even though he misused the land for commercial purpose, we will not demolish those portions," Dash said.
Land owner Nakula Sahoo's son Bijay Kumar Sahoo said: "I have no problem if the government demolishes the unauthorized portions. But I will move court if the authorized portions of the structure is affected." Sahoo did not comment when asked why they encroached on government land.
A large number of people thronged the busy Jayadev Vihar area to witness the demolition drive as it was a prominent landmark of the city. Sources said Somu's Cave was built in 1999. Security was tightened to avoid any untoward incident.
This was BDA's third demolition drive against any high-profile 'obstructer' in the past two months.
Demolition of an under-construction multi-storey commercial establishment in Ashok Nagar and another garment showroom on Janpath is still under way after the process started two months ago.
BDA had been drawing flak for allegedly being soft towards 'influential' violators of building norms.
"We had been facing criticism that BDA is sparing big fish. But in reality, the big violators often get stay orders from courts. We will have zero tolerance towards blatant violators," another BDA officer said.
BDA authorities said 34 such unauthorized massive structures would meet a similar fate in the coming days. Though BDA has so far listed more than 18,800 cases of major violations under the Odisha Development Authority Act (ODA) Act, action was taken only in around 258 cases till date, sources said.