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Drive on to recover temple property

Drive on to recover temple property

Author: V.S. Palaniappan
Publication: The Hindu
Date: September 10, 2009
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2009/09/10/stories/2009091050040100.htm

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department has started a drive in the Coimbatore zone to recover temple property including buildings, shops, houses and lands that have been encroached upon.

HR&CE Joint Commissioner P.R. Ashok told The Hindu that 25 cases under Section 78 of HR&CE Act had been disposed of and measures are on to evict 25 encroachers from about 94.4 acres. These were worth about Rs. 6.42 crore. Revenue loss on account of unpaid rent and unfair rentals fixed for temple property had been detected. Mr. Ashok said 757 such cases had been identified: 517 of them were buildings and 240 vacant sites.

He said fair rent had now been fixed for these premises; this would fetch about Rs. 80 lakh each month for temples. The department had identified 7.32 acres belonging to five temples encroached upon by multiple individuals. For these, the fair rent fixed now would fetch Rs. 75 lakh a year.

Mr. Ashok said scrutiny of Inam Settlement Land Register in respect of the Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode districts had led to the compilation of five volumes of documents identifying 22,000 acres. Of these, 13,750 acres had been located. Efforts are on to take possession of them. He said that executive officers of 275 temples had preferred patta transfer appeals before District Revenue Officers in respect of 1,800 acres. More than 1,600 acres for which pattas existed in the name of temples and which were usurped had been identified: steps were on to take possession of them.

Mr. Ashok said that a scrutiny of the Updated Register (UDR) had showed instances of temple lands being given pattas in the name of third parties by mistake, and efforts were on to recover these. During the current year alone, temple renovation and maintenance works are being taken up in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur and the Nilgiris districts at an outlay of Rs 1,518.38 lakh.

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