Panel to be set up on priests’ demands

Published: 15th August 2012 11:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2012 11:15 AM   |  A+A-

The principal secretary of the endowments department Chitra Ramachandran on Tuesday announced that the department would be constituting a commission to work out a road map for the implementation of Section 65(A) of the Endowment Act, within two days time.

Speaking to Express, Chitra Ramachandran said that they are working out the modalities to implement Section 65 (A) of Endowment Act 30/87 for benefiting all the priests in the state.

On the issue of casual leaves of the priests, the principal secretary has assured to 'look into' the demand but did not make clear if the funds for the remuneration would be given from the Common Good Fund(CGF).

According to the endowment department officials, the main objective of the CGF was to provide financial assistance to the financially-weaker temples under the Doopa Deepa Naivedyam scheme and also take up renovation and reconstruction of ancient temples. The Deepa Doopa Naivedyam scheme has been implemented in 3,800 temples across the state and the department is paying about ` 85 lakh every month out of the CGF. "As per norms, only 10 percent of the CGF is allotted for the Doopa Deepa Naivedyam scheme but at present, over 33 percent is being diverted for it," said an official.

If the demand of the priests of raising the remuneration from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 is agreed to, it would divert 70 percent of the CGF, leaving not much for the renovation of the ancient temples, he added. The striking priests had called-off their strike on Monday after assurance by the state government of meeting their demands.

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