Digitisation of about 26K acres of land owned by Lord Jagannath troubles SJTA sans records

Puri: With records unavailable, digitisation of the landed properties of about 26,000 acres owned by Jagannath temple in Puri has been troubling Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

The work of preparing digitised database has been awarded to Odisha Space Application Center (ORSAC) of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of Odisha. It was decided in a recent meeting of the Managing Committee chaired by Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, a source said.

The pity is that the SJTA has no information about the landed properties of those 26,000 acres.

The Lord has a total of more than 60,000 acres of land in and outside the State, of which records of only about 34,000 acre landed properties was earlier traced out by the SJTA. It means that the SJTA has no information on around 26,000 acres of land. Presently, the temple authorities are in dark as to who is in possession of the lands. Hence, digitisation process is bound to face hindrances.

According to the source, the Supreme Court of India had previously asked for detailed report of Lord Jagannath’s landed properties in 2018. SJTA had then informed the top court that the total amount of land was 60,426.943 acres. Out of the above, records of right (RoR) of only 34,200.976 acres were with the temple administration and accordingly the same was communicated to the apex court.

However, Supreme Court had insisted to submit details of the remaining lands within the next six months. It is known that the court has not been provided with the necessary information so far.

On the other hand, the SJTA has found out RoRs of nearly 600 acres of land after four years of the court order with the state Revenue & Disaster Management and Law departments in limbo.

As per information obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) application, total landed properties of different categories exist in the name of Lord Jagannath. There are about 60,031.943 acres of land in 24 Odisha districts and around 395.252 acres of land owned by the Lord are outside the State.

When contacted, SJTA Chief Administrator Vir Vikram Yadav said, “We have given a proposal to ORSAC to digitise the lands and special software will accordingly be developed after ORSAC submits the Detailed Project Report (DPR), wherein all details of lands owned by the Lord will be recorded.”

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