The AIADMK Government has retrieved more than 1,500 acres of land and other encroached property of various temples in Tamil Nadu, valued at over Rs 1,100 crore, in the last three years, a state Minister said on Tuesday.
Encroachments of temple land to the extent of 1,564.75 acres besides buildings were cleared and restored to the possession of temples, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P Chendur Pandian told the state assembly.
"Total value of these assets is approximately Rs 1,167.24 crore. In this, for the year 2013-14 alone, 1167.24 acres of cultivated land, 181.840 ground sites and 28.885 grounds area buildings were taken possession, (with) their total value being approximately Rs 929.67 crore," he said.
Steps were also taken to regularise encroached temple land under stipulated guidelines which include utilisation of the land for over 30 years for 'residential purpose only, 'besides payment of 10 months' rent as donation.
Under this provision, 3253 'encroachers' were regularised as tenants, who had occupied over 142 acres, in the last three years and no objection certificates issued to them for availing drinking water and electricity.
On the Jayalalithaa Government's 'Annadanam' (free meals) scheme in temples, he said it was 'neglected' in the previous DMK regime but has now been 'revitalised' and being implemented in 518 temples across the state.
The government spent Rs 9.16 lakh per day to benefit around 46,000 devotees, Pandian said.