Move to take over Kerala temple land

via PNS | Kannur published on June 9, 2010

The Kerala Forest Department has reportedly begun efforts to take over the land held by the governing committee of the Hindu jungle shrine of Kottiyoor in Kannur district. The District Forest Officer has forwarded his recommendation to the department to take over ten acres of land held by the temple, exempting the shrine, as per the provisions of the Ecologically Fragile Lands Act just when the month-long Vaisakha Maholsavam festival is progressing at the shrine.

The department had earlier taken over 42 acres of land held by the temple committee. The new move for land takeover has come when a case regarding this is pending in the court. The temple land is listed as 31st among the total 51 plots identified by the department for takeover under the provisions of the Act. The 220 acres of land constituted by these 51 plots comes under the Kottiyoor Range of the Forest Department.

Devotees and the temple committee point out that the land has been under the temple for a very long time. The Vaisakha festival in which tens of thousands of devotees participate every year would be thrown into total chaos if this land is taken over, they complain. Once the land is taken over, the committee would be required to get special permission from the Forest Department to conduct the festival.

The new move from the department has com amidst the complaints of the committee and the devotees that the production of Odappoovu (flowers made out of tender bamboos), the main Prasada of the festival, is facing crisis due to the earlier land takeover. The temple does not have the authority to collect bamboo from this land. The annual Vaisakha Mahotsavam of the Kottiyoor Mahakshetram had begun on May 26 with the Neyyattam ritual. It would end on June 21with Thrikkalasattam.

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