Joint Collector asked to take up survey and submit report in two months
Endowments Minister Gade Venkata Reddy was on Monday surprised to hear from the officials of his department that the lands of several temples in Krishna district were leased out to farmers for paltry amounts.
The officials told him during a review meeting that the lands belonging to Sobhanachalam temple were leased out to farmers for just 50 paise or 75 paise an acre. They also admitted that the department had no records pertaining to some of the lands that it was claiming, despite the fact that more than 3,000 acres of land belonging to Sobhanachalam, Venkatachalam and Raghunathaswami temples were encroached. They also said that there was a mismatch between the records of the Endowments Department and the Revenue Department.
The Minister asked Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal to take up a survey of the lands belonging to these three temples and submit a report in two months. Based on the report, the government would decide whether to evict the encroachers or hike the lease amount.
Even while stating that the government would not “disturb” the small and marginal farmers who were depended on the lands for their livelihood, Mr. Venkata Reddy asserted that the government was “firm and serious” about dealing with encroached lands.
“I will not entertain any recommendation from any quarter, however big he or she may be. Let us protect the temple properties, irrespective of political affiliations.”
Mr. Venkata Reddy stated that the three main temples in the district had 13,000 acres of land between them, with the Sobhanachalam temple alone having 9,500 acres. But out of this, 6,732 acres of land in Agiripalli, Vadlamanu and Malleswaram villages was taken over by the Revenue Board on payment of Rs. 5,342 per annum towards payment of an allowance to the temple.
The remaining 713 acres would have to be settled under Inam Abolition Act.
Animal Husbandry Minister K. Parthasarathy, Endowment Commissioner J.S.V. Prasad, MLCs Ilapuram Venkaiah and Paladugu Venkata Rao, MLAs Chinnam Ramkotaiah, Vellampalli Srinivas, Yelamanchili Ravi, Malladi Vishnuvardhan, Tangirala Prabhakar Rao, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, former MLA Meka Venkata Pratapa Appa Rao, RDOs — K. Dharma Reddy and K. Subba Rao, Endowments Assistant Commissioner Suresh Babu and others were present.