Bhubaneswar, Sept 5 (LocaLWire): Land sharks have grabbed nearly 38 acres of property owned by 13th century Lord Lingaraj temple, the famous Shaivite shrine in the city protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The daily puja rituals at the temple had come to halt for two days with servitors staying away from all rituals, including offering bhog to the deity, to protest government inaction in reclaiming the Lord’s land illegally grabbed by encroachers.
The stalemate was resolved yesterday with the government-run temple management trust making a written commitment to expedite the process for retrieval of the occupied land.
‘At present, 37.049 acres of land that is legitimately owned by the temple is under illegal occupation.
The temple land is either encroached upon or has been unlawfully alienated to private ownership through forged Record of Rights (ROR).
The temple management is locked in legal battle to recover the land from the occupiers’, a senior official of state revenue department told LocalWire.
Als many as 282 cases have been filed in this regard under Section 25 of Odisha endowment act.
16 cases have so far been disposed off in favour of Lord Lingaraj and 1.73 acres of occupied land reclaimed’, the official added.
Cases are still pending in civil courts, consolidation courts, board of revenue and sub collectors’ courts.
In some of the cases, the unauthorized occupants have obtained stay orders from the courts.
The temple authorities filed an appeal suit against the stay order but due to series of adjournments, the legal process is getting delayed.
However, the temple management has hired eminent jurists for speeding up trial of the civil cases and obtain favourable orders, the official said adding that currently temple is in legal possession of 126 acres of encroachment-free land.