Fact Check: Reports Of Odisha Govt Selling Jagannath Temple Land Are Misleading

In the last few days, several posts on social media platforms and news reports have claimed that Odisha Govt is planning to sell 35,000 acres land belonging to Puri’s Jagannath Temple which is spread across 24 districts in 6 states.

One such post can be seen here, the post reads,
“Shocking & Unacceptable! Odisa Govt selling 35000 Acres land of Jagannath temple. They already sold 315 Acres! Can Govt sell land of Church, Mosque,Buddhist temple or Gurudvaara NO Then why temple’s land ? Why? @Naveen_Odisha Sir,Any plan to sell Jagannath temple also??”

May be an image of text that says "Shocking & Unacceptable! Odisa Govt selling 35000 Acres land of Jagannath temple. They already sold 315 Acres! Can Govt sell land of Church, Mosque,Buddhist temple or Gurudvaara NO Then why temple's land ? Why? @Naveen_Odisha Sir,Any plan to sell Jagannath temple also?? 35K acres Jagannath land to be sold out MONETIZING LORD'S PROPERTIES identified Bhubaneswar, tecord lash"

Fact Check

The claim went viral after Odisha Law Minister, Pratap Jena, replying to a question in the Odisha Assembly on March 16, said, “Around 60,426 acres of land in the name of Lord Jagannath, has been identified in 24 districts across the state. Over 395 acres of land has been identified in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar.”

Collectors of the concerned districts are being contacted to sell these properties, the minister had added.

The temple administration has reclaimed 34,876.983 acres of land so far. “Steps are being taken to sell the reclaimed land as per the Saman Niti (uniform policy) approved by the government,” added Jena.

This was reported widely by media organisations.

But two days later, on March 18, it was clarified by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Odisha, that it has been falsely reported that 35,000 acres of land of Lord Jagannath is being sold.

Denying the authenticity of the news, Krishan Kumar, Chief Administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said to ANI, “This is complete distortion of facts and is blatantly ‘false’ and ‘motivated’.”

Not just this, SJTP (Shree Jagannath Temple Office, Puri) issued a series of tweets on March 18 stating, “The lands, which are occupied or are under the possession of various persons since long but belongs to Shree Jagannath Mahaprabhu; are being settled by Temple Committee as per the “Unified Policy”, framed for the purpose in the year 2003.”

“It is important to note that from 2001 to 2010, 291 acres of land was settled and from 2011 to 2021, 96 acres of land have been settled. These have been settled for the benefit of the public mostly in the form of schools, medical college, roads, etc.”

The Temple administration also clarified that all the decisions regarding the allotment of land for public benefit and infrastructure projects of the Government or others are taken by the Shree Jagannatha Temple Committee.

Thereby, it has been established, after Temple Administration’s clarification, that all the decisions related to the assets of Shree Jagannatha Temple are taken by the Temple Committee.

And in this matter, the Temple Committee has clarified and denied that it is selling 35,000 acres of land belonging to Lord Jagannath.

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