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Bulldozers rolled out to demolish illegal structures at Indore temple after 36 deaths

Bulldozer action against illegal structure at Indore temple

Bulldozers were rolled out in Indore today to demolish illegal construction at the Beleshwar Mahadev temple in which 36 people tragically died last week when the roof of a deep stepwell collapsed during a hawan at the Ram Navami ceremony last week.

A large contingent of municipal and police officials reached the temple on Monday morning to ensure the action was not obstructed.

Personnel from four police stations have been deployed to prevent any possible resistance. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner, District Magistrate, and other officials are also present at the spot.

The 200-year-old stepwell was covered with four iron girders, a thin layer of concrete and tiles that could not hold the weight of the crowd that gathered to offer puja on Ram Navami.

Devotees gathered at Shri Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple for the hawan were not even aware that there was a deep well below the flimsy roof that they were sitting on.

The temple is managed by a private trust and is located in Sneh Nagar, one of the oldest residential colonies in Indore.

The stepwell roof that collapsed was an illegal structure that the Indore Municipal Corporation had marked for demolition last year, but the authorities then decided not to go ahead with the move as the temple trust warned that religious sentiments would be hurt.

On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed District Collectors virtually and directed them to identify traditional ancient wells and stepwells and take measures to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again. He said the officials shoud be particularly alert about wells and stepwells which have been covered without filling. If there is such a place, arrangements should be made by opening them. If required, boundary walls, fencing, or railing should be made around such places.