Trust board chief eligibility: panel unhappy with probe

Staff Reporter

Legislative panel holds review meet relating to Sri Satyanarayana Swamy temple at Annavaram

Joint Collector instructed to inquire into land ceiling case near Chollangi

Steps to make lift irrigation schemes fully functional ordered

Kakinada: The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Committee on Assurances expressed displeasure at the tardy progress of inquiry into the eligibility of Raja Ram Kumar for appointment as trust board chairman of Sri Satyanarayana Swamy temple at Annavaram and charges of corruption against temple’s former executive officer GV Narasimha Murthy.

Addressing a review meeting here on Tuesday, committee chairman E Pratap Reddy said Ram Kumar had been enjoying full powers as the temple’s founder trustee for several years despite doubts being raised on his qualifications. He was facing corruption charges but he continued to be at the helm of affairs. Moreover, he belonged to Chennai, which was a fundamental disqualification to be in the chair, he said.

Executive officer M Raghunath replied that the temple’s `property register’ suggested that Ram Kumar’s forefathers were the ones who got the temple constructed and that was the basis for his appointment as founder trustee.

As regards corruption charges on former executive officer Narasimha Murthy, the Anti-Corruption Bureau is yet to complete its investigation. A separate inquiry is being done by the Lok Ayukta.

In a controversy related to land ceiling, Mr. Pratap Reddy instructed the Joint Collector to inquire into the sale of a part of 700 acres of land near Chollangi village in Tallarevu mandal in alleged defiance of High Court orders. A salt works company converted the land into several small holdings and sold them to farmers before the final judgment on whether the land could be exempted from the Land Ceiling Act, is delivered.

NWB permission

Further, the committee chairman ordered the district administration to apply for the National Wildlife Board (NWB)’s permission for developing the Hope island into a tourist spot at a cost of about Rs 10 crore. The Assurance Committee ordered the ITDA and Department of Irrigation and Command Area Development to take steps to make the minor lift irrigation schemes in Agency areas fully functional. Out of 37 LI schemes, four came under submergence of Musurumilli and Bhupathipalem reservoirs, two were uneconomical for repairs.

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