Temple properties worth over Rs 100 crore have been recovered in Salem city in Tamil Nadu, thanks to the efforts of HR and CE with the active support of Hindu Munnani and Thiru Thondar Peravai (Saiva Devotees Forum).
A devotee, Krishnan Chettiar in 1899 had donated lands to Venugopala Swamy temple at Salem Chinnakkadai Street. Presently, the 3.60-acre land is located at Salem-Bengaluru National Highway in Thiruvakavandanur area. Over a period of time, the land was encroached. Over 80 houses and 10 commercial establishments, shops were built illegally on the land. The same has been under illegal occupation for the past 80 years.
The temple administration filed a case in Madras High Court. The court has recently given an eviction order allowing the Temple administration to reclaim the lands under illegal occupation. Armed with Madras High Court to evict them, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR and CE) department officials, Hindu Munnani and devotees forum on 24th December came to the Salem Bengaluru National Highway. They sealed the shops built on the land belonged to temple illegally. “As far as over 80 houses are concerned, encroachers have been served notice through court to evict within 15days” said Hindu Munnani functionary Santhosh. Devotees Forum president Allikuttai Radhakrishnan said encroached temple lands in Salem district would be retrieved with the help of courts and would be handed over to HR and CE. The land that were reclaimed in Salem is worth over 100 crores.
To thwart untoward incidents, additional police forces have been mobilized. Despite their deployment, shopkeepers broke into a quarrel with officials and temple authorities, when they turned up to seal the encroached shops near AVR Roundana on 24th morning. As the situation grew tense with the shopkeepers besieging officials, a large team of police personnel led by Suramangalam Assistant Commissioner Nagarajan came to the spot. In their presence officials sealed seven shops in the first phase and the eviction drive is likely to continue in the coming days. “3,000 square feet land worth Rs.4.5 crore has been taken into possession now and the total worth of the remaining yet to be retrieved land is estimated to be around Rs.100 crore” Santhosh said.
On December 17. in Chennai, HR and CE officials recovered temple lands whose collective market value is over of Rs. 67 crore. The property is situated on the Greenways Road and at Nadukuppam in Chennai. While 11 grounds of land belong to Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple, three grounds and a 1,600 sq.ft plot are owned by Payandi Amman temple. A release from HR and CE said “the 11 grounds land on Greenways Road under the possession of an organization had housed 10 buildings that were rented out. The grounds were attached based on the court orders. As far as the three grounds and a 1,600 sq.ft plot was concerned, we have issued an order on November 6 to evict encroachments. Action was taken as per the court order and the land was recovered”.