VIJAYAWADA: Probing the allegations of alienation of endowments land in violation of norms by the previous government, the endowments department has found that around 225 acres of land belonging to the Kadapa-based Sri Sri Sri Jagadguru Pushpagiri Sankaracharya Mahasamsthanam (also known as Pushpagiri Mutt) in Nujendlapalli village of Guntur district, was regularised in favour of occupants at a “mutually agreed rate” rather than auctioning it as per norms.
Sources in the government said that a senior TDP leader was behind the entire episode to grab the land. They said the land in question was not handed over to the encroachers, who are poor people, either and continues to be in the possession of the TDP leader.
The YSRC government has started looking into the encroachment and alienation of endowments land across the State.
During the review, it found that the land belonging to the Mutt was regularised, through a GO, in favour of the occupants at a “mutually agreed rate subject to permission from the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.”
The then government issued the GO (Ms No 203 of Revenue (Endowments) Department) on March 1, 2019, about a fortnight before the election notification was issued, permitting regularisation of the ownership. It was approved in the last cabinet meeting of the TDP government.
341.12 acre land in the Agraharam was donated by Sri Raja Munur Narasimha Rao, zamindar of Chilakaluripeta of Guntur district in 1793 AD. In February 2019, the Pushpagiri Mutt requested the government to permit the sale of 225.47 acres encroached land to the occupants themselves at a mutually agreed rate. “Since both parties agreed to sale and purchase which is in the interest of the Mutt, the government decided to regularise the occupied lands by permitting sale of lands in the occupation of the encroachers to an extent of 225.47 acres in favour of the occupants at a mutually agreed rate subject to obtaining permission from High Court of AP,’’ the GO read.
Official sources said regularisation process was done in violation of HC guidelines which stipulated that endowment lands should be put up for public auction. “Endowments lands can be sold or alienated only through a public auction, but it was not followed in this case,” said an official.
“The regularisation was done in violation of guidelines at the behest of the then ruling party leaders,’’ the official said. The government will take legal opinion to protect the endowments land.