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Railway issues notices to mazar, temple in Agra over land encroachment

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As part of the railways bid to remove illegal encroachments from its land, its North Central zone has issued notices to a mazar of Bhure Shah Baba and a Chamunda Devi temple in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

In the notice issued on April 25 to Sajjada Nashim, the caretaker of the mazar, the railways has said the structure was constructed on land owned by the Agra Cantonment railway board and 182.57 square metres of the land have been “illegally occupied”.

It has asked for documents defending the construction of the mazar to be presented before the board by May 13. The notice has instructed Nashim to prove the ownership of the land and appear for a hearing on May 13. It has further added that if the mazar caretaker is not available on that date, officials as well as the court will issue orders after hearing only one side.

Similarly, in a notice issued on April 12 to the priest in-charge of the Chamunda Devi temple, the railways has said a part of the structure is encroaching on platform number one of the Raja Ki Mandi railway station and causing inconvenience to passengers as well as affecting train movement. The notice has given 10 days time for the removal of the temple from the platform as well as from railway land.

Railway land measuring around 814.5 hectares, which is at least nine times the total area of the New Delhi railway station, is encroached across the country and almost one-fifth of it is in the Northern Railway zone, according to data provided by the railway ministry in Parliament in December 2021.

According to the ministry, railway land measuring nearly 176 hectares is under encroachment in the Northern zone, followed by 141 hectares in the South Eastern zone. Around 94 hectares are encroached upon in the Northeast Frontier zone.

The Supreme Court had blamed the railways in December last year for the encroachment on its properties and said it must initiate action against the unauthorised occupants immediately.

Not only the railways, most public departments are wary of taking action against religious structures, officials said.

However, senior officials said the railways, after the lashing from the apex court, has decided to take action against all such encroachments.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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