BHUBANESWAR: With hundreds of acres of Lingaraj Temple land under encroachment, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has come down heavily on the state government, saying its attitude is lackadaisical to evict encroachers.
The state government had constituted a committee with law secretary as chairman in August 2003 to review status of Lingaraj land, but it met only five times during 11 years, the CAG pointed out.
Although the committee was authorized to receive applications from complainants for settlement of disputes, 103 applications, involving 12.543 acre, were received, of which only 37 applications, involving 1.929 acre, were found feasible for settlement.
In a major setback for the state government, the Orissa high court on Monday ordered Lingaraj Temple authorities to take possession of 2.865 acre, which is encroached by a builder.
Official sources said more than 300 cases, relating to encroachment of land, are pending in endowment court and 200 cases in civil court.
The CAG also slammed the temple authorities for non-maintenance of crop register to show demand, collection and balance of agricultural products from temple land. "In Lingaraj Temple, the register was maintained only from 2007-08 and therefore arrears outstanding against tenants prior to that year could not be ascertained in the audit," the report said.
Chief executive of temple administration Srinivas Kabi said board of revenue is monitoring the settlement of cases.
Taking potshot at commissioner of endowment (CoE), the audit report said 82 cases, relating to encroachment of 21.336 acre of one religious institution, are pending with CoE for four to 18 years.
In case of 12 religious institutions, 287.718 acre is under occupation of servitors since 1990. The servitors had not rendered any service. The income from the land was also not shared with the temple, the CAG pointed out.
Also, 1,589.893 kg and 13.248 kg gold and silver articles respectively are kept in a locked room under the security of the trustees without depositing the same in government treasury.