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Wall built to keep Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati safe from terror to be pulled down

February 13, 2010 -- the day the German bakery blast took place -- LeT operative Qateel Siddiqui had attempted to plant a bag of explosives near Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati temple. This was one among several instances of terror threat to the venerated shrine, forcing the management to shore up security.

So, when the police passed on the intelligence in July of the temple being on the radar of radicals, the trust started construction of a wall on three sides of the edifice.


Hammer time: The wall is encroaching upon a portion of the civic road. Pic/Sachin Thakare

However, after receiving a complaint letter stating that a part of the wall is encroaching upon a considerable portion of the civic road, and that the whole construction was carried out without necessary sanction, Pune Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment department is planning to send bulldozers to raze the barrier.

“On receiving the complaint letter, we forwarded it to the concerned ward office. Civic officials from Vishrambaug Wada office will inspect the spot,” said DR Langhe, chief inspector of the anti-encroachment department.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Arun Khillare, Vishrambaug Wada ward officer, said, “We have inspected the spot and found out that wall at the north side of the temple comes under PMC jurisdiction, and is illegal. They [temple authorities] have not taken any permission for that. Apart from wall surrounding the northern side, other three walls constructed fall under the temple premises. When they began construction, we had approached the trust. But, the members told us that the police had instructed them to take precautionary measures to counter the terror threat.”


Ground rules: PMC received a complaint that a part of the wall was encroaching upon a considerable portion of the civic road. Pic/Sachin Thakare

Cops, however, clarified that they did give the temple advice on how to maintain security, but also asked it to garner necessary permissions. “We have informed that they should take necessary measures for security. In a letter sent to them, we have clearly specified that the trust should secure the required permission from the civic body before construction,” said Makarand Ranade, DCP (zone-I). 

For any kind of construction work, permission has to be taken from the land & estates, construction and anti-encroachment departments of PMC.

Madhav Jagtap, head of the anti-encroachment department, said, “We have not received any application for permission. I checked with the land & estates and construction wings too. We will now issue a notice, asking the trust to pull down the illegal construction. If it fails, we will have to initiate action.”

Terror threat
Following threats from terror outfits, the police had asked Dagadusheth temple authorities to install a bullet proof glass in frontof Lord Ganesha’s idol in the month of July.

Besides this, the cops also asked the management to construct strong walls on both sides of the temple to secure the core area of the temple. 

The security of the temple had also become a matter of concern after LeT operative Qateel Siddiqui, who was later killed inside Yerawada Jail, told Delhi police that they had attempted to plant a bag full of explosives at the temple in 2010, but couldn’t succeed. Since then, the police had increased the security of the temple

Dattawadi fallout
After the Dattawadi wall collapse, PMC formed guidelines regarding permission for wall construction. According to guidelines, after the design is finalised, the plan should be submitted to the civic body. The wall has to undergo a plinth checking and only after that can developers get clearance for construction.

Rs 1 cr
The sum the main Ganesha idol at the temple is insured for

The other side
Ashok Godase, president of the Shrimant Dagadusheth Halwai Trust, said, “Construction of the wall nearly complete and will take another 15 days. We have taken all the necessary permissions.”

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