Sambalpur: The Sambalpur district administration on Saturday initiated eviction drive around the Samaleswari Temple to carry out development and beautification of the 16th century shrine.
In the initial phase, the drive is being carried out at Kamali Bazar in the vicinity of the shrine.
Some old government quarters and offices have been demolished so far. The encroachment in the nearby areas will be evicted in phased manner, said officials.
Till the last report came in, the demolition exercise was going on peacefully.
Adequate police forces have been deployed to keep watch on the possible law and order situation during the demolition works.
Senior administrative officials and Enforcement staff are monitoring the works on the spot.
The Odisha Government had earlier announced to implement the SAMALEI (Samaleswari Temple Area Management and Local Economy Initiatives) project during 2021-22 fiscal year.
In February this year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced Rs 200-crore package for the development of the shrine of Maa Samaleswari, the revered deity of Western Odisha.
The project envisages construction of one km-long walkway for ‘Parikrama’, separate entry and exit gates, emergency facilities for the temple office, interpretation centre and preservation of Gopalji Mutt. Accommodation, parking facilities, toilets, information kiosks and donation centres are some of the other features of the ambitious project.
Housing facility will be developed for servitors and a 30- metre-wide road will be constructed from the temple to the Mahanadi Gate Road as a part of the project.