Encroachment by Asaram ashram removed

The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) on Thursday removed encroachments by the Asaram Bapu Ashram and opened up a public road that had been closed for 10 years. The ashram inmates and supporters, however, grappled with NMC staff at the site and had to be forcibly removed.
Speaking to The Asian Age, NMC deputy commissioner (Encroach-ments) R.M. Bahiram said that the road was in the city’s development plan and the ashram had handed it to the NMC about 10 years ago.
“In the intervening years, the ashram built a small mandir, concrete rooms in the middle of the road and planted trees to make the road indistinguishable. We held a meeting with the ashram office bearers four days back and they promised to remove them. On Wednesday evening we told them that the drive would begin tomorrow,” he said.
As the ashram did not remove them the encroachment staff arrived along with a number of policemen and women to handle the crowd.
Ashram spokesman Rambhai told this newspaper that they had appealed the NMC for a week to remove the small mandir due to the ongoing Ganeshotsav and had not received any notice. “But the encroachment drive took place and we tried to reason with the NMC. This is a shadyantra (conspiracy) against Bapu and the ashram. We want compensation for the 51 gunthas land which has gone in the road at the rate of `5 crores per acre,” he said.

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