THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The special Cabinet meeting on Friday decided to recommend to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance reducing the term of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) from three years to two. The ordinance aims at disbanding the TDB chaired by Prayar Gopalakrishnan appointed by the previous UDF Government. Other TDB members are UDF Government’s nominee Ajay Tharayil and LDF Government’s K Raghavan.
Both the UDF Government nominees will complete two years in the post on Saturday.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan have urged the Governor not to sign the ordinance which they termed politically motivated.
In his letter to the Governor, Chennithala cited there wasn’t any corruption allegation or other valid reason for dismissing the board.
Kummanam said the move would sabotage the mandalam pilgrimage season. “After taking over the Parthasarathy temple in Guruvayur, the government is trying to strengthen its hold in TDB,” he said.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said shortening the tenure was LDF’s policy. “In 2007, then LDF Government had reduced the tenure from four years to two. It was raised to three by the previous UDF Government,” he said. The government plans to enact legislation to bring in sweeping reforms in various devaswom boards. Tenure of the Malabar DB will also be trimmed to two years, he said.
The ordinance is to amend the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act 1950. It also intends to revise the honorarium and introduce sitting fees for the president and members of Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards. At present, honorarium for the president and members are D5,000 and D3,500 each respectively.