Govardhan Peeth sees government role in Swargadwar land grab

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Puri: With more skeletons tumbling out each passing day of the Swargadwar land grab closet, the Govardhan Peeth here on Tuesday alleged that with the help of State government and the administration authorities, the land belonging to Swargadwar have been usurped at various times.

Such is the extent of the land irregularities as alleged by the Govardhan Peeth’s spokesperson, that hotels and lodges have been built on the 120 tombstones (samadhi) out of 131 of the Shankaracharya’s the crematorium belonging to the peeth.

Citing the facts the Govardhan Peeth said, the 144th Shankaracharya, Niranjan Debatirtha had allotted 3 decimal land for a Holy Basil (Tulsi) garden to Ramshankar Sarangi. At a later point in time, Sarangi sold of 3-acre land by forging documents on which a big hotel has been constructed. Peeth sources informed that the High Court after hearing the case ordered reclamation of the land and criminal case against the accused person. However, no action was taken, said Peeth sources adding that in many cases, despite the court had ordered a ruling in favour, no steps have been taken by the State government to recover the land. However, after the Supreme Court order on Lord Jagannath land the State government is showing promptness of late, the peeth alleged.

“Only 3 decimal land was allocated to Ramshankar Sarangi but he forged the documents and sold off 3-acre land for crores. The State government was silent despite knowing all this which goes on to prove its hostile and negligent attitude towards Govardhan Peeth,” said spokesperson, Manoj Kumar Rath.

Also Read: Even parts of existing Swargadwar encroached upon

Interestingly, son of Ramshankar Sarangi, Jayant is the current Puri Municipality Chairman. Reacting to the Govardhan Peeth’s allegations Jayant said, “I don’t know; but what I know is that land belonging to our family is present there. I cannot say what my father did 40-50 years back.”

On the other hand, the administration said that it is examining the SC directive to return Lord Jagannath’s land sold out by the caretakers to the temple administration, following which action will be taken.

“After analysing the details of various cases steps will be taken in accordance with the SC order,” said Puri ADM, Bibhuti Bhushan Das.

Meanwhile in Assembly, Law minister Arun Sahoo in a written reply to MLA Mahesh Sahoo’s question, informed that 60,000 acre-land belonging to Lord Jagannath have been identified out of which the revised land records of around 34,000 acre is with the temple administration. Moreover, 395-acre land has been identified outside state, Sahoo informed adding that 303-acre land have been sold after forming uniform policy and letters have been sent to the concerned district collectors of other States to sell the land.

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