Drive to retake temple lands
source: Deccan Chronicle, May 14, 2007
Karimnagar, May 13: The special drive mooted by the minister for endowments Juvvadi Ratnakar Rao to free the encroached temple lands from the clutches of landgrabbers took off in Dharmapuri in Buggaram Assembly constituency represented by the minister.
Mr Rathnakar Rao, who is an ardent devotee of the Dharmapuri temple deity Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, credited his elevation as minister to the grace of the god on being inducted into the ministry recently
He vowed to free all the encroached temple lands in the State from the possession of encroachers on a top priority basis during his maiden press meet in the capacity of the endowment minister.
The minister first focused his attention on protection of temple lands in his own constituency. He directed the revenue officials concerned to initiate appropriate steps to liberate the temple land measuring about seven acres at Gopulapur village in the mandal from alleged encroachment.
A landlord of Nagunur village donated the land to the temple deity several decades ago under Land Ceiling Act. He reportedly availed exemption from the ceiling under the Act. However, the donated land remained in the custody of some villagers for all these years. The repeated attempts by the staff concerned to repossess the lands failed so far.
Thanks to the initiative of Mr Rathnakar Rao, the revenue officials conducted a survey at the said land and established that the land belonged to the temple. When contacted, Dharmapuri tahsildar Raghupathi told this newspaper that the relevant documents were handed over to the concerned temple employee of the endowment department on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the officials reportedly allotted 2.3 acres of government land in the temple town for the construction of cottages and other development activities following the intervention of mr Rathnakar Rao. The minister mooted construction of cottages in the said land on the lines of Basar for the benefit of the devotees