Bhubaneswar: The state government has initiated a process to sell 35,272 acre of land belonging to Lord Jagannath, in Odisha and six other states, Law Minister Pratap Jena told Assembly, Tuesday.
Giving a written reply to a question of BJP lawmaker Mohan Charan Majhi, Jena said as per the recommendations of a committee formed under the chairmanship of then Governor BD Sharma, the government is taking necessary steps to sell 35,272.235 acre of land properties of the temple.
Jena said Lord Jagannath owns 60,426.943 acre spread over 24 of the 30 districts of Odisha. Out of which, the temple administration could prepare final Record of Rights (RoR) over 34,876.983 acre. “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),” the minister told Assembly.
Meanwhile, the government has already sold out 315.337 acre of Jagannath’s land including Bharati Matha building in Cuttack city and Rs 11.20 crore earned from the land sale has been deposited in the temple corpus fund, the minister said.
Similarly, steps are being taken to sell 395.252 acre of land identified in six states outside Odisha. The government has written to the concern District Collectors in this purpose, he said.
Sources said the 12th-century temple has a maximum of 322.930 acre in West Bengal followed by 28.218 acre in Maharashtra, 25.110 acre in Madhya Pradesh, 17.020 acre in Andhra Pradesh, 1.700 acre in Chhattisgarh and 0,274 acre in Bihar. The minister further said about 100 acre has been identified at Bagha area and the government is collecting share amount of paddy each year from the sharecroppers. A Khamari has been engaged at Bagha for this purpose while another Khamari has been engaged at Dochhian to take care of land properties located in the area, he said, adding, paddy collected from the Dochhian area is also sold each year.
Besides, 582.255 acres located in Khurda have been given to Odisha Cashew Development Corporation (OCDC) on a lease basis. In return, the government is getting Rs 3 lakh from the corporation each year, the minister added.
According to sources, people who have occupied Srimandir land for more than 30 years would have to pay Rs 6 lakh per acre to take the temple land in possession. Those who have acquired Srimandir land for less than 30 years but more than 20 years would have to pay Rs 9 lakh per acre to purchase the plots.
Besides, individuals who have occupied the temple plots for less than 20 years but more than 12 years would have to pay a hefty sum of Rs 15 lakh per acre, the source said.
The law minister further said the state government has constituted four commissions to bring reforms and probe various incidents related to the Jagannath temple. The panels are—justice BK Patra Commission, a committee headed by BD Sharma, Justice PK Mohanty Commission and Justice BP Das Commission. To implement various recommendations made by the commissions, a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of temple chief administrator following the approval of the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, he added.