Chennai

Temple property retrieved

Taking possession: HR&CE personnel evicting occupants from the property belonging to Agatheswarar temple on MTH Road in Villivakkam on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: PICHUMANI K

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department on Wednesday took possession of land measuring 3,627 sq ft on CTH Road in Villivakkam belonging to Sri Agatheeswarar Temple.

The land had been rented out and the tenant had sub-let it to another person. The rent arrears totalled ₹50.34 lakh to the temple. The second party had constructed a G+2 structure with four shops, a gym, a party hall and an office space on the land worth ₹5 crore.

“Since the person defaulted on payment of rent, we filed a case for retrieving the land under Section 78 of the HR and CE Act, and the Joint Commissioner’s Court had directed us to remove the encroachment. However, the tenant filed a case in the Madras High Court, which directed us to approach the Commissioner’s court. The party filed more cases, refusing to vacate. The High Court directed us to immediately remove the encroachment and report to it,” said an official in the department.

On Wednesday, officials from the department, along with those from the Revenue Department and the police, sealed the building.

Survey taken up

Meanwhile, work to physically measure and survey around 4.78 lakh acres of land belonging to temples under the control of the HR and CE Department has begun.

HR&CE Minister P.K. Sekarbabu, who inspected equipment to be used in the survey, launched the work from Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, whose master plan for development has commenced.

He told presspersons that the process would take about one year to complete, and the Revenue Department had provided 50 DGPS - RTK rovers worth ₹4 crore for this purpose. The department had requisitioned another 50 devices and a few more would be sought, if needed.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Commissioner J. Kumaragurubaran, in a recent order, said that around 200 licenced surveyors had been roped in on a temporary basis on consolidated payment for the purpose. Using rover equipment and by using latitude and longitude coordinates, the properties would be marked digitally and physically, he said. Temples that did not have funds for the purpose could apply to the Commissioner for releasing the same under the Common Good fund.

“We will use boundary marking stones that are part of any land survey. Each team of surveyors and assistants can cover up to 10 acres of land in a day if it is a continuous property. Smaller properties with houses and other structures will take time. We are roping in retired tahsildars and deputy tahsildars so that we can complete the work as soon as possible. We will approach respective District Collectors for assistance,” said Sukumar, special officer-cum-DRO.


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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:36:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/temple-property-retrieved/article36372833.ece

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