The Telangana government today constituted a committee, headed by Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Commissioner M Raghunandan Rao, to battle the rising problem of land grabbing in the state.
Other committee members include Nalgonda District Collector Prasanth Jeevan Patil, Mancherial District Collector Bharati Hollikari and Medchal–Malkajgiri District Collector Swetha Mohanty.
A GO, by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, issued today stated that the TRS government had received several complaints about "large scale encroachments" and "illegal transactions" of land belonging to the Sri Seetha Rama Swamy temple lands at Shamirpet's Devarayamjal area, in Medchal-Malkajgiri.
The endowment department has also claimed that some 1,521 acres belonging to the said temple have been encroached. Many sources value the encroached land at over Rs 1,000 crores.
A couple of vernacular newspapers in their May 2 issues have also reported on the alleged encroachments extensively, claiming that former Health Minister Etala Rajender and a few other individuals had been involved in usurping the land.
It has also been reported that these individuals have unlawfully occupied large extents of the temple lands, and have falsely shown the lands as their own, or have registered them illegally as benami plots. Further, it is being said that many large structures have been erected on the lands without any valid permissions and in flagrant violation of several laws.
Thus, the alleged encroachments have not only violated several laws but have hurt the sentiments of the devotees and the donors gravely.
The government, after careful examination of the issue, ordered a detailed enquiry into any government body, violations of existing government regulations, the extent of vacant land, the extent of land under encroachment by the benamis and the influential persons behind them, the extent of revenue loss to the temple and recommended action. This enquiry will be helmed by the committee formed today.
The formation of the committee comes after a slew of land grabbing allegations
were levelled against former Health Minister Etala Rajender.