Hyderabad, Nov 12 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister J Ratnakar Rao today said 623 temples were earning an annual income of more than Rs one lakh from temple lands in the state.
Replying to a question raised by MVS Sharma, Dachuri Rami Reddy and others in the Legislative Council here, he said the temple lands were being leased out regularly by way of auction.
About 135 acres of land was provided for house sites and 2,480 acres given for cultivation during the last four years in the state.
To another question, he said some applications were pending with the government, requesting for sale of temple lands to Non-Government organisations and teachers cooperative societies.
The Minister said the government had stopped the process of regularisation of Simhachalam Devasthanam's lands at market rate, occupied by some people in nearly five panchayats, in view of the Andhra Pradesh High Court's direction.
As per the court direction, the process of regularisation had been put on hold, he said in reply to a question by Dadi Veerabhadra Rao, Nimmakayala China Rajappa and others. At present, there was no proposal to regularise the process to generate funds for the Devasthanam.
The members demanded that the government appoint a special officer to protect the Simhachalam Devasthanam lands, encroached upon by influential people and reclaim the lands. They also demanded that the government regularise the buildings constructed within 1,000 square yards for the benefit of the poor people.