Bhadrachalam: People, who allegedly usurped the land belonging to Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy Devastanam and have been cultivating it without paying any tenancy amount to the temple board, have started digging the land without any permission from anybody.
The temple now owns 889.50 acres of land there out of which roads, irrigation tanks and hillocks occupy about 105 acres. The Devastanam has allocated 11.71 acres to the Tourism Department but a decision to that effect is yet to be taken. A proposal to construct cottages in 25.35 acres is also pending.
Though the land is used for cultivation, more in reality, the usurpers are paying only nominal amount to the Devastanam.
Recently it has been found that one person who had been paying regularly damage charges to the Devastanam for six acres, later declared that 10.28 acres is also under his occupation and started paying the additional damage charges since 2005. However, he started digging in half acre land for the last six months. Since the land is situated away from the main road, nobody noticed the digging. It is suspected that the digging was undertaken for cultivating fish.
EO Ramesh Babu said he had instructed the Assistant EO to lodge a complaint with the police against the person who dug the land. He said he would move the court to get compensation for damaging the temple land. According to him, two outsourcing persons who did not report the matter to the temple management were removed from service. He was in favour of departmental action against the temple staff for negligence of duty.