Kalahandi Gods Starved of Funds

BHAWANIPATNA: As many as 16 temples in the district, managed by the Endowments Department, are facing acute funds crunch. With limited source of income, the temple servitor

Published: 13th April 2012 03:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:29 PM   |  A+A-

BHAWANIPATNA: As many as 16 temples in the district, managed by the Endowments Department, are facing acute funds crunch. With limited source of income, the temple servitors are finding it difficult to manage the

affairs.

Ironically, a large sum of money towards compensation under the Estate Abolition Act has been pending with the Board of Revenue for the last 17 years. This apart, compensation towards acquisition of temple lands for the Indravati project has not been provided to management committees of various temples till date.

Sources in the Revenue Department said under provisions of the Estate Abolition Act, after abolition of Zamindari system, each temple received ` 13,434 from the Board of Revenue since 1965. However, in 1994 following direction of the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), 26 passbooks issued in the names of various deities were withdrawn and the district administration asked to submit a revised rate to be paid to the temples as compensation.

Since then, the annual compensation dues of the temples have not been paid. The district administration on its part submitted a revised compensation at the rate of ` 6,80,000 per annum in July 2005, but no follow-up action was taken.

Thus, considering the 2005 revised calculation, since 1994 till date about `1,12,00,000 outstanding is to be received by the temple committees.

Likewise, towards compensation for acquired land of 20.90 acres of the temples for canal construction of Indravati project, ` 6,88,000 has been pending. Though the amount was forwarded to the Government Treasury, in the absence of clearance by the Endowments Department, it has not been distributed among the temples.

These 16 temples are in Bhawanipatna, Junagarh and Thuamul Rampur. The annual income received from cultivation of temple lands and leased temple shops/houses does not suffice for management of the temples.

Under these circumstances, priests of the temples are paid ` 250 a month and sevayats ` 200. For the ‘bhog’, ` 40 a day is given  to the temples except the Balaji temple which gets ` 50 per day. And for other expenses, the temples get ` 410 a month except Dakhinkali, Tarini and Jagannath temples of Bhawanipatna which receives ` 500 a month towards miscellaneous expenditure.

“While prices of almost everything have gone up, the amount provided to us is not sufficient for running the temples. We manage with donations by devotees,” said Purushottam Tripathy, president of the priests association in Kalahandi.

Kalahandi Collector Dukhishayam Satpathy said officials concerned have been asked to sort out the problems at the earliest.

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