Ramachandraiah says judgment in Gurukul Trust lands case brought relief

Details of lands belonging to all temples in the State are being placed on the Endowment Department’s website enabling people to become the guardians and protect the lands, Minister for Endowments C. Ramachandraiah said here on Tuesday.

The website is being made user-friendly and the land details would be accessible to the public in 15 days. The physical reconciliation and record reconciliation of the lands was completed by the officers, the Minister said at a press conference after conducting a review on the department’s activities in the Multi Zone I. The total extent of temple lands in the State is more than 4.30 lakh acres.

Principal Secretary Revenue (Endowments) M.G. Gopal and Commissioner of Endowments G. Balaramaiah were also present. The Multi Zone I comprises Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna districts.

The judgment delivered by the Division Bench of High Court last September in the Gurukul Trust lands case provided a great relief to the government in proceeding forward on the very complicated issue of regularisation of temple lands under occupation, Mr. Ramachandraiah said. The Division Bench declared in the case of Gurukul Trust lands case that the multi-storied building that came up on the land should not be demolished but fix market value of the land, regularise it and hand over the proceedings to the endowment institution to which the land belonged.

“We are planning to act according to this judgment in the case of lands of other temples in the State but we have to follow the legal procedure of informing the court and taking its permission. We will also involve the Collector and Superintendent of Police of the district concerned. There are many small farmers and families that have constructed small houses. Along with them we have to keep in mind the interests of weaker sections,” Mr. Ramachandraiah said. The local officials would decide the list of persons who have occupied the lands. The HC Bench has to be approached for taking action on the lands of every temple, he said. The meeting also discussed security at the temples, the needs and present status; implementation of Gosamrakshana Pathakam and maintenance of Gosalas, among others.

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