Over the last five years, the Tamil Nadu government had retrieved about 40000 hectares of temple land from private persons, said Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Minister Sevvur S. Ramachandran here on Monday.
Inaugurating a new building for the office of Joint Commissioner (HR&CE) here, he said that following representations from various Hindu groups, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswai had ordered a survey of the temple land across the State. The officials evicted encroachers and brought the land to proper use.
Similarly, lands which were not fetching fair rent, too were taken stock of by the authorities. The public were welcome to inform the HR&CE authorities with specific information about encroachment of temple lands (which may be gifted by donors) in remote villages and the officials would act, he said.
The government had proposed to conduct kumbabhishekams to all the shrines on region/division-wise. For instance, temples under the jurisdiction of the JC office in Dindigul division would be identified and kumbabhishekams conducted.
To another query, Mr. Ramachandran said that idols which were stolen and smuggled abroad were being brought back through diplomatic channels. Idols from the UK were recently received. The government had taken a series of measures to bring back all those idols which were reported missing and investigations led to the recovery, he added.
Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan said that not only temple lands, even forest lands which were encroached too were retrieved. Even if investigations suggested that accused were from the AIADMK, there would be no excuse or pardon, he claimed and added that the arrest of AIADMK functionary in the sensational Pollachi sexual abuse crime was an example.
DRO Govindaraju and other senior officials participated in the inaugural function.
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