Monday, September 18, 2006

Retrieve encroached temple lands

Retrieve encroached temple lands: CPM - "The Communist Party of India (Marxists) has demanded the government to retrieve encroached temple lands and distribute them to landless poor farmers in the State.

Speaking to journalists here on Monday, general secretary of the Party, S. Dhanasekar said, people encroached upon several lakh acres of arable temple land and reserve forestland, over the centuries.

Kings and bigwigs had donated their lands to temples in the past. The shrines had raised huge revenue by leasing out the lands to the people.

While welcoming the government scheme of distributing 2 acres of developed wasteland to landless farmers and agricultural workers, Dhanasekaran said the government has a daunting task ahead.

On a rough estimate, the State should possess at least 60,000 acres of land for providing the same to 30,000 eligible farmers in the coastal district alone. He said that people in the district had encroached upon more than 1.5 lakh acres of temple and reserve forestlands.

Government must take action to retrieve the lands and distribute them to the beneficiaries. He said that the 50,000 acres of reserve forestlands in the cashew belt and 12,000 acres of reserve forestlands in Thittakudi had been illegally occupied by the people.

Similarly, over 600 acres belonged to Vadalur Vallalar Thirugnanasaba; several hundred acres of land, which were owned by Lord Nataraj temple, Chidambaram; Thiruvaduthurai Aathinam; Thirupanandal Aathinam; Sri Padaleeswara temple, Cuddalore; Lord Devanatha temple, Thiruvaheendipuram; Sri Veeratineswara temple, Thiruvathigai; Lord Siva temple, Thiruthuraiyur; Sri Viruthambigi temple and Sri Vedappar temple, Vriddachalam; Lord Perumal temple, Thirumuttam and even a Mosque at Parangipettai had been encroached upon by the people.

The government must take action to retrieve the encroached lands and distribute the same to beneficiaries of new scheme, he said. Highlighting the issue, the CPI (M) and its wings - All India Kisan Saba and All India Agricultural Workers Union, would stage a statewide demonstration on Thursday, he said."

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