Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable (HR&CE) Endowments P.K. Sekarbabu on Tuesday urged members of the public to lodge complaints with the police if they were aware of encroachments on temple properties. He said the police were directed to take such complaints on record. “Earlier, the police used to ask the executive officers concerned to file complaints. But now even that is not necessary. Members of the public can themselves file complaints and the police will inquire and take steps along with officials of the HR&CE Department. Temple executive officers have been instructed to provide the required documents,” he said. The Department had changed the system of the Commissioner having to file complaints of encroachments. “We have amended the required Section in the [relevant] Act since there is a delay if only the Commissioner has to step in. The number of temples and attached properties is too large for a single person to handle. Temple officials, thakkars [fit persons] or trustees can prefer such complaints,” Mr. Sekarbabu said. The Department has been taking steps to retrieve temple properties, and so far assets worth ₹1,200 crore have been retrieved. Efforts are being made to measure and mark temple properties. Former officials of the Revenue Department have been roped in to mark the properties and install HR&CE boards on the lands, according to an official release.