The Krishna district administration on Sunday asked the Siddhartha Academy of General and Technical Education to hand over the lands belonging to Sri Durga Malleswara Swamivarla Devasthanam, on which some educational institutions are being run, on the basis of a recent judgment of the High Court.

District Collector Peeyush Kumar made this clear to the representatives of the Siddhartha Academy at a meeting, which was also attended by Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal, Devasthanam Executive Officer N. Vijaya Kumar and others.

Time sought

The academy was asked to handover the lands belonging to the Devasthanam or else pay lease amounts as per the prevailing market value of the lands.

Academy president S.V. Vishnuvardhan Rao and vice-president M. Rajaiah sought some 10 days time to discuss the issue in the governing body and the general body to arrive at a decision.

Mr. Peeyush Kumar said that the Endowments Department was ready to take over the lands and the buildings and manage the colleges just as it was maintaining several other educational institutions.

This would ensure that the future of the students studying in these institutions was not jeopardised. Mr. Vijaya Kumar said that the academy could be given one week provided it would not resort to further litigation.

The Devasthanam authorities and the academy have been at loggerheads over the lands belonging to the temple leased out a few decades ago for a nominal lease fee.

The lease

The temple authorities have been asking the academy to increase the lease amount in view of the high land values prevailing in the city.

It was during the tenure of Parvathaneni Brahmaiah as chairman of the temple in the 70s that the lands were leased to the trust floated by him. More than eight acres of land was given on lease to Siddhartha Mahila Kalasala in 1975, and more than five acres to the Siddhartha Academy in 1980, both for a period of 50 years.

Since then the academy has been paying a nominal lease amount of Rs. 9,500 per annum for the land on which Siddhartha Mahila Kalasala stands now, and Rs. 9,000 per annum for the land on which the academy has been constructed.

The State government in 2006 issued a GO ordering the academy to hand over the lands to the Devasthanam. The government also claimed that the lease was not valid for a long period.

The academy challenged the GO in the High Court. In the meanwhile, the temple authorities approached the Endowments' Deputy Commissioner (DC) court based on the GO and the DC court ordered the academy to vacate the land. The High Court stayed the orders and directed maintenance of status quo.

HC order

The academy, a couple of months ago, met Endowments Minister Gade Venkata Reddy and apprised him of the situation, but the Minister asked the academy to hike the lease amount or purchase the lands at prevailing market value.

Even as the stalemate continued for a while, the High Court pronounced its judgment recently asking the temple authorities to implement DC court orders.

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