When roads are encroached in the name of god

Nearly thirty months after the Supreme Court directed all state governments and Union Territories to review unauthorised construction of religious structures, which had come up on public land, on a case-to-case basis and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible, hundreds of illegal worship places still continue to clog the capital of Bihar.

As per the state government figures, a total of 975 unauthorised religious structures on public land were reported in Patna itself. Out of which, 37 have been relocated in the last two-and-a-half years after the apex court issued an order in this regard on December 7, 2009.

“No new unauthorised religious structure has come up after the apex court directive. As far as the existing structures are concerned, we will enforce the Court’s order on a case-to-case basis,” said Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Singh.

But even after two years, since the order was passed, illegal worship places continue to remain as earlier. No wonder, the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) campus has five unauthorised places of worship, while the historic Patna University, which has ten constituent colleges under its jurisdiction, has 12 small and big temples on its campus. 

The apex court order was issued in context of a news item that 1,200 temples and 260 Islamic shrines had encroached on public lands in Gujarat. The Gujarat government removed all of them, but Patna has been able to achieve a mere success of four per cent.

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