Hyderabad: The AP endowments department on Tuesday said that Hindu temples and their properties are not government assets. Revenue department principal secretary J.S.V. Prasad said temples were never constructed by the government with tax payers’ money. They were built by Hindu philanthropists, mutts, peetams and zamindars since ancient times.
“The government is only acting as a sacred trustee of temple property and has brought the Endowment Act permitting itself to administer temples,” Mr Prasad said. Mr Prasad was reacting to several cases brought to the notice of the government where departments are undertaking programmes and projects are taking over temple land and have not paid compensation to the temples after a delay of several years.
He directed all land acquisition officers to pay full compensation for land taken over from temples for irrigation projects in the state. “Some land acquisition officers, as also district collectors and heads of departments are under the mistaken notion that temples properties are government properties and as a consequence they need not pay any compensation to Hindu temples,” he said.
Some glaring instances where compensation was not paid include the Pulichintala project, Gandikota reservoir, the land taken over by the housing department among others.
These departments have also not implemented the complete relief and rehabilitation package envisaged by the government to the temples concerned. All the departments should pay the compensation as per government rules, he added.