Puri temple admin has no control on over 25k acres of Lord’s land | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com


Bhubaneswar: Even as Puri is getting a makeover as part of the government’s heritage corridor project surrounding the Jagannath temple, the shrine administration seems to have failed to safeguard hundreds of acres of land that belongs to the sibling deities.
In a written reply, law minister Pratap Jena told the assembly on Tuesday that the Jagannath temple administration owns 60,426.943 acres of land in 24 districts in Odisha. However, the shrine body possessed ownership records of only 34,803.013 acres. According to the minister’s reply, the temple administration is yet to take control of 25,623 acres. Temple sources said the 25,623 acres have been encroached upon.
“We (temple administration) have so far registered a total of 864 encroachment cases in different tehsils under the Jagannath Temple Act-1955, Section 16-A (1). Steps are being taken to get the 25,623 acres of land back,” Jena said.
The minister said Jagannath temple owns 395.282 acres of land in six states (West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Chhattisgarh) with the bulk of the property (322.930 acres) located in West Bengal. The minister’s reply, however, has no mention about the status of the land use. According to Jena’s reply, the Jagannath temple has 17 acres in Andhra Pradesh, 28 acres in Maharashtra, 25 acres in Madhya Pradesh, 1.7 acres in Chhattisgarh and 0.274 acre in Bihar.
On November 4, 2019, the Supreme Court had sought information from the temple administration on the immovable property and quarries owned by the deities in Odisha and other states. The temple body had sought more time from the apex court to furnish the details.
Temple sources said land sharks in connivance with some corrupt temple officers had created forged documents and transferred hundreds of acres of land in their names in the state.

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