We will approach the court with our solution on the issue, says Naidu

The assurance of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu that immediate steps would be taken to regularise Simhachalam temple lands has given relief to thousands of people.

Briefing the media after the maiden Cabinet meeting here on Thursday the Chief Minister gave the assurance that the Government would also approach the High Court with its solution and take all steps to resolve the issue within a time frame.

Thousands of people had purchased plots from middlemen in the lands belonging to the temple several decades ago. Most of them had constructed houses and were living under constant threat of notice from the Devasthanam authorities. They moved the court and the matter has been pending for decades.

Mr. Chandrababu Naidu recalled that his Government had brought G.O. no. 578 on Simhachalam temple lands before 2004. Those who had purchased lands were asked to pay the cost, according to the then prevailing market rate, to the Endowments Department and get their plots regularised.

Then about 2,400 persons of the total 6,600 land owners had paid for the land in their possession as per the G.O. and got them regularised. The remaining persons were misled by vested interests and refused to pay and hence their lands were not regularised. The number of such persons has now gone up to 12,000.

The Chief Minister said that those living on those lands for the past two decades or more would be issued property documents on payment of the market value of the land that prevailed in 1999.

He also said that the Devasthanam would be given alternative land. However, this would not be valid for vacant land, he said and clarified that a list of genuine occupants had already been drawn up and the Government would go by it.

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