Temple land encroached
source: Deccan Chronicle, July 5, 2007
Hyderabad, July 4: Temple land worth more than Rs 1,000 crores has been encroached upon in Ranga Reddy district where land costs are skyrocketing. The endowment department estimates that 1,162.26 acres of land out of 10,077 acres is under encroachment. Even small temples have valuable land. The Ram Mandir at Alwal has 2,000 square yards of land worth of Rs 5 crores. The devotees who met on Wednesday in Alwal decided to stop unauthorised sale of the property.
"The government should conduct a survey to identify temple land," demanded Mr N.V.S.S. Prabhakar, convenor of the temple land protection committee. The AP Rythu Sangham has decided to protect temple land since it can be given on lease to farmers. "Land-grabbers should not benefit from temple land," said convenor K. Satyanarayana. "We will visit all temples in a phased manner to verify the properties. Our information will be useful for the government," he said.
The lack of proper records with endowment and revenue departments has enabled land grabbers to fake documents and occupy temple land. The endowment department is now trying to recover land by issuing notices to the encroachers. "We are planning to construct boundary walls wherever possible. Otherwise we will auction the land in order to prevent land grabbing and encroachments," Mr P. Sundar Kumar, endowments commissioner, said. "We are establishing land protection cells and taking the help of retired judges to win the legal battles," he said.