BHUBANESWAR: More than 22 structures were pulled down by the civic authorities here on Friday for expansion of natural drain-5, near Sriya Square.
The eviction drive was carried out by the City Enforcement Monitoring Committee (CEMC) after a requisition was made by the Drainage Division. Expansion of drains has been incorporated in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) by Indian Institute of Technology (IITKGP), in 2010, but could not take place due to encroachments.
All the 10 natural drains in the city are at least three decades old and a majority of those have either been encroached or are in urgent need of expansion as they can no longer sustain the additional flow of drain water, whose volume has steadily increased.
CEMC officials said the existing 10-foot wide drain will be widened to about 20-foot. As per the original plan, one-km stretch adjoining the natural drain-5, starting from Sriya Square will be cleared of encroachments.
On Friday, the enforcement wing could undertake encroachment for only about 500 metres after which the excavators could not manoeuvre the narrow stretch inside the slums, near Sriya Talkies.
Enforcement officials said remaining encroachments have to be removed manually. However, a private building could not be demolished due to an ongoing legal case filed in 1998.
Similarly, another permanent structure too was spared due to a stay order issued by Orissa High Court.
Announcement about the eviction drive was made two days back. As the enforcement squad’s amin had already marked the structures to be demolished about a month back, no major resistance was witnessed.
Ten personnel of Odisha Special Striking Force (OSSF) and three platoons of police were deployed during the drive.