VISAKHAPATNAM: Executive officer (EO) of Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamyvari Devasthanam, Simhachalam, M Venkateswara Rao was on Tuesday surrendered to his parent department (Revenue) following a report submitted by the joint commissioner of the Endowments department into allegations of illegal quarrying of Simhachalam hill against him.
Endowments regional joint commissioner of Rajahmahendravaram D Bhramaramba has been given full additional charge of the post of executive officer, Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Simhachalam.
The joint commissioner earlier submitted a report after an inspection with the endowments regional joint commissioner of Rajahmahendravaram, deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner of Visakhapatnam with regard to illegal quarrying on the hill, and said there was a directive that no EO should carry out any new work on top of the hill without permission from the commissioner and government. However, he said they found heavy quarrying was executed by donors in three places without the knowledge of the temple engineering staff and also in defiance of the master plan.
Quarried hill slopes to be riveted immediately
The executive officer did not obtain prior permission from the endowments commissioner before starting the work and did not follow the donor work norms or enter into any specific agreement, he said.
Besides, the EO allowed the donor to take away gravel worth `10-15 lakh from the hill. The EO did not contact any engineering personnel when executing the work, the joint commissioner said, adding that the EO tried to create record to backdate the quarrying to make it appear legal.
He said 200 m of the hill was cut by the donors at the behest of the EO in the guise of building a parking lot. The quarrying was done during the lockdown between April and May, and the work was undertaken carelessly and may cause heavy landslides, he asserted. The levelling work was illegal as it was not proposed in the master plan and there was no permission from the Endowments Commissioner. Besides, there is no plan or estimate for the quarrying.
The joint commissioner also recommended in the report that the continuation of the executive officer was detrimental to the interest of the temple as he violated the master plan, allowed illegal quarrying and disturbed the sensitive ecology of the hill. He recommended compensation be recovered from the donor for taking gravel worth `15 lakh, and all quarried hill slopes be riveted immediately to prevent landslides.