Civic body removes hawkers around Dagdusheth complex

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Citing security concerns, for over a year now city police had been demanding removal of vendors around Ganpati Temple

More than a year after the city police placed its demand, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Monday removed hawkers and other structures around the Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple in Budhwar Peth for security reasons.

The civic administration has been under criticism for not taking action against encroachers on the plea that some of the vendors were authorised to carry out business around the temple and removing them would be illegal.

"We completed the administrative process for the removal of hawkers and structures from around the temple. The action was initiated in the presence of police," said Arun Khilari, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Kasba-Vishrambaug wada ward office.

He said the civic administration would also remove other structures, including public toilets.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ramesh Shelar said the civic anti-encroachment staff will carry out the drive in the area frequently to ensure that the vacated area is not occupied again by hawkers.

After it was revealed that the temple is on the terror hit-list, the city police have been taking extra security measures. According to the Indian Mujahideen (IM) suspect arrested in New Delhi, the IM had planned to attack the temple the same day that it had targeted German Bakery in Koregaon Park on February 13 in 2010. However, the plan failed due to the alertness of a flower seller.

According to temple trust office-bearers, the police have been writing to them, seeking removal of street vendors around the temple for security reasons. The police had also asked to remove dustbins and public toilets from the area, saying it might be used by miscreants. Since the temple is along the main city road, there was also a fear that miscreants might throw something to harm devotees.

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