As per Law Minister Pratap Jena of the BJD-led Odisha government, the state has initiated a process to sell 35,272 acres of land that belongs to Shri Jagannath Mandir in Odisha and six other states. While giving a reply to a question of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Mohan Charan Majhi, Jena said that the state had formed a committee under the chairmanship of then-Governor BD Sharma. The Committee recommended the sale of temple land. The government is taking the necessary steps to sell 35,272.235 acres of land properties of the temple.
Jena further added that the Shri Jagannath Temple of Puri owns 60,426.943 acres of land on 24 of the 30 districts of Odisha. Out of this land, the temple administration could prepare the final Record of Rights (RoR) over 34,876.983 acres. The minister said, “In accordance with the recommendation of the commission, steps are being taken to sell out the land as per state government’s approved Uniform Policy (Saman Niti).”
Temple land in six states marked for sale
The Law Minister further said that the government has already sold out 315.337 acres of temple land that included the Bharati Matha building in Cuttack. Rs.11.20 crore was earned from selling the said land that has been deposited in the corpus fund of the temple. The government has identified 395.252 acres of land in six states, including West Bengal (322.930 acres), Maharashtra (28.218 acres), Madhya Pradesh (25.110 acres), Andhra Pradesh (17.020 acres), Chhattisgarh (1.700 acres) and Bihar (0.274 acres).
The minister said that approx 100 acres of land had been identified in the Bagha area. The government collects a share amount of paddy on the said land from the sharecroppers. A Khamari has been engaged at Bagha and another at Dochhian to take care of the temple properties in those areas. Around 582.255 acre of land in the Khurda district is under Odisha Cashew Development Corporation’s possession on lease. The government gets Rs.3 lakh every year for the said land.
Encroachers will be asked to pay for the land
As per the government’s decision, those who have encroached temple land for more than 30 years can take possession of the land by paying Rs. 6 lakh per acre. Those who encroached the land for less than 30 but more than 20 years will have to pay Rs.9 lakh per acre. Those who have encroached the land less than 20 years but more than 12 years will have to pay Rs.15 lakh per acre to take possession of the land.