Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has started the process to amend the Shri Jagannath Temple Rules, 1960 to facilitate smooth implementation of the amended provision in the Temple Act.
The state Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had January 5 decided to make amendments to the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1954 for the settlement of long pending temple land-related issues.
Accordingly, the Law department has amended the Act through an Ordinance.
The Odisha government has amended the sub-section 2 under Section 16 of the Act to decentralise the power to lease out, sell or mortgage land properties or other immovable properties of Lord Jagannath.
“Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the immovable property taken possession by the Committee may be leased out, sold or otherwise alienated by it, subject to such condition and exception and in such manner as may be prescribed,” is the new provision included in the amended Act.
The amendment means that henceforth the immovable properties of the Jagannath Temple can be leased out for any time frame or can also be sold out without the approval of the Odisha government.
To facilitate smooth implementation of the new provision, the State Law Department is holding discussions with the concerned stakeholders to amend the temple rules.
The government proposed to include the salient features of the Uniform Policy of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), keeping in view the legal sanctity and force attached to a Rule, sources said.
Senior government officials will be conferred with power for disposal of the land settlement/alienation cases, procedure of disposal, manner of valuation etc.
The Law department has requested the SJTA to provide details of land already recorded in the name of Shri Jagannath Temple Management Committee.
Another meeting is scheduled to be held January 18 for this purpose, the source said.
As per a statement made by the Law Minister Pratap Jena in the Assembly, the Jagannath Temple has about 60,426 acre of land in 24 districts of Odisha and another 395.252 acre of land in other states like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.