BENGALURU: The endowments department plans to survey all its properties to find out encroachments and other unauthorised usage, as the Wakf Board.Properties owned by the endowments department include wedding halls, community halls, vacant land, 34,559 temples, of which 175 are Class A (annual revenue above Rs 25 lakh), 163 are Class B (annual income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh) and 34,221 are Class C temples (annual income less than Rs 5 lakh). Most properties are owned by Class A and Class B temples such as Kukke Subrahmanya in Dakshina Kannada, Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysuru, and Kollur Mookambika Temple in Udupi.
Endowments Department Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri told TNIE that they plan to digitise all records and conduct the survey. “There are many encroachments. If we can conduct a survey like the Wakf Board did, where Deputy Commissioners too reviewed the districts, we will have clarity on the extent of encroachments,” she said.
The department had put the plan in motion before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “We had written to the revenue department requesting surveyors. But we could not take it up due to the pandemic. Just 20 days ago, one surveyor was deputed. The endowments Department has property worth over Rs 10,000 lakh crore and it is not humanly possible for one surveyor to do all the work,” a senior department official told TNIE.
In 2010, the then chairman of the Minorities Commission Anwar Manippady had submitted a report to then Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda listing thousands of acres of Wakf Board land which had been encroached or sold illegally. The report also named several politicians. In 2013, the Siddaramaiah-led state government had constituted a task force to conduct a comprehensive survey of land belonging to the Wakf Board. The board owns about 41,000 properties and the survey revealed thousands of their properties were encroached, which they then began clearing.