Lord Jagannath could be the richest landlord among India’s deities with 60,654 acres of land. This is even as land sharks have grabbed vast patches of the 60,259 acres of Jagannath temple land across 23 districts in Odisha.
About 395 acres of it is now being sold to create a Rs 1,000 crore maintenance corpus for the 12th century shrine here in the Lord’s name, an official said. The balance 395 acres is in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Of these states, West Bengal has the maximum – 322 acres – owned by the temple.
The state government is in the process of selling temple land outside the state. Besides, the government has also written a letter to the district collector of Nainital in Uttarakhand to pay the market value of a 52-year-old building owned by the temple.
“Out of 60,259 acres of Jagannath’s land identified by the SJTA, the state has record of rights (ROR) of only 32,927 acres. The balance 27,331 acres have no record of rights,” Law Minister Arun Sahu told the state assembly recently.
He also said that 340 cases have been filed against the land encroachers under the Sri Jagannath Temple Act 1955.