Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department has surveyed close to one lakh acres of temple lands as part of an effort to safeguard the property from encroachments.
“The work to survey the temple lands is progressing briskly and we hope to complete the entire work soon,” says HR & CE Commissioner J Kumaragurubaran.
Relying on modern survey technologies such as Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) for the survey of lands and digitisation of records, the department hopes to survey the remaining 3.5 lakh acres of temple lands spread across the state.
During the survey, about 172 licensed surveyors, who have been engaged for the purpose, initially measured the village boundaries and then the land boundaries of all land parcels in the village. DGPS equipment is used to capture precise land boundaries and measure dimensions of the land being surveyed. The ground measurements are linked with geographical data attributes in a GIS format to create a digital database.
GIS can show different kinds of data on a map and it captures, stores, checks and displays data.
“The surveyors have been equipped with 66 DGPS devices. Apart from surveying, work to peg the boundaries/bends with cement pillars is also being carried out,” Kumaragurubaran said.
After survey of temple lands in villages, field measurements of 50 sketches are prepared by the surveyors using the Collabland Software, the Commissioner said.
HR & CE, which manages about 38,658 Hindu and 17 Jain religious institutions dotting the state, has about 4.78 lakh acres of temple lands under its control. So far, nearly 96,437.11 acres of land has been surveyed in 20 regions under the department. Though nearly 50,000 acres of land was surveyed in June, the progress was rather slow when the Northeast Monsoon set in by October-end.
“Nevertheless, we have completed surveying 96,437.11 acres of temple lands,” a senior official added.
On September 8, 2021, HR & CE Minister P K Sekar Babu launched the scheme to measure the lands belonging to the religious institutions in the state, at Sri Kapaleeswarar temple, Mylapore, here.
The surveyors were given 56 rover equipment to help in surveying the temple lands accurately. The department had engaged a retired Deputy Director and Assistant Director of Survey and Settlement as Principal Consultants to monitor and advise the surveyors in carrying out the survey works.
Once digitised, the data will be uploaded on the department website for the benefit of devotees so that they could have a fair idea of the location and extent of temple lands in their respective villages/cities.