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Hyderabad: Telangana to takeup Bhadradri temple land grab with Andhra Pradesh
With the prime land of Bhadradri Sri Seetharamachandra Swamy temple located in Purushothapatnam, Alluri Seetharamaraju district, Andhra Pradesh facing encroachment, the Telangana government has resolved to negotiate with its counterpart, urging the protection of the temple’s sprawling 890 acres.
Hyderabad : With the prime land of Bhadradri Sri Seetharamachandra Swamy temple located in Purushothapatnam, Alluri Seetharamaraju district, Andhra Pradesh facing encroachment, the Telangana government has resolved to negotiate with its counterpart, urging the protection of the temple’s sprawling 890 acres.
As a result of the State’s bifurcation in 2014, these lands now lie in the neighbouring Purushothapatnam village, falling within the Yetpaka revenue division of Alluri Seetharamaraju district in Andhra Pradesh, approximately 3 kilometres away from the revered temple town of Bhadrachalam. While the temple used to receive lease revenue amounting to Rs 3,300 per acre from these lands, it has been deprived of this income. Officials have indicated that local farmers, influenced by powerful leaders, have neglected their lease obligations.
A senior official lamented the temple management’s lacklustre attitude in safeguarding the land against the influence of local leaders. The temple authorities have also sought the intervention of the neighboring district collectors. On one occasion, when locals attempted to erect permanent structures, the priests visited the site and emphasised that these lands belong to the temple deity, rendering them beyond claims of individual ownership.
Officials have noted that philanthropists have generously donated lands in the name of the deity. For instance, there is a temple land associated with the Sita Ramachandra Swamy temple in Alwar, Rajasthan, located in Mallepally village of Nalgonda district. Despite these temple lands, the official affirmed that the deity’s ownership remains unalterable in the land records.
Further, the official elaborated that the Sri Ramachandra Swamy temple, constructed by Bhakta Ramadasu (KancharlaGopanna) during the Qutub Shahi period in the 17th century, possesses around 1,250 acres of land, primarily situated in Khammam district, with the remaining portions dispersed across East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh. Notably, a significant portion, comprising over 900 acres, is located in Purushothapatnam near Bhadrachalam town, gifted to the temple by the devoted SomarajuPurushottamaDasu in October 1878. While the Endowments department had sold approximately 27.5 acres in undivided Andhra Pradesh for the establishment of educational institutions and tobacco boards, the temple currently retains 889.50 acres. Subsequently, the temple authorities engaged in a prolonged legal battle to regain control of a substantial portion measuring 722 acres that had been under cultivation by local farmers.
Endowments Minister A Indrakaran Reddy has instructed officials to take necessary measures to protect the temple lands, including engaging in discussions with officials at the secretary level. He emphasised the government’s commitment to maintaining regular communication with authorities in Andhra Pradesh and expressed the desire for their support in safeguarding the lands on behalf of the Telangana government.