BENGALURU: Ever since the demonetisation came into effect, the hundis at major temples are filled with old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. The Muzrai Department has issued a circular to all the temple authorities asking them to deposit such currency notes in their bank accounts at the earliest.
Karnataka has at least 34,000 temples that come under the Muzrai Department. Of these, 175 temples are Class A (whose annual revenue is above Rs 25 lakh), 158 are Class B (annual income is between Rs 5 and Rs 25 lakh) and the remaining are Class C temples (annual income is less than Rs 5 lakh).
A senior official from the Muzrai Department said, “In the last 15 days, the income of our temples has increased drastically. But we give the grades based on a temple’s income over three years. This trend of getting more revenue because of the banned currency will be there for some time.”
Lakshmi, endowment officer, Banashankari temple, Bengaluru, said that when they opened the hundi on Thursday last, they had received some Rs 56 lakh. “At least Rs 20 lakh were the banned currency notes. We will pay it to the bank. It is a record in our temple collection because we have never crossed Rs 40 lakh,” she said. The Lakshmi Venkateshwara temple in Sampangiramanagar received Rs 5.26 lakh, of which about Rs 1 lakh were in old currency notes, an offical said. Venugopala Swamy temple in Malleswaram received Rs 24.58 lakh in their hundis, a large part of which was again in banned currency notes.
The top three income-generating temples in Karnataka are Kukke Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, which has an annual income of at least Rs 4.25 crore. This is followed by Nanjunedeshwara temple in Nanjangud taluk of Mysuru district and Renuka Yellamma Devi Temple in Savadatti of Belagavi district. The income of both is around Rs 3.5 crore to Rs 4 crore. The daily income at these temples has shot up by at least 20 per cent. Ganga Ram Baderiya, Principal Secretary to Muzrai Department, said that as per the instructions of the Union Finance Ministry they are depositing the money collected in the temples at the bank. “We cannot stop people from putting the banned currency notes in hundis. But we are clearing the hundis on a day-to-day basis and the same is paid at banks,’’ he added.
Muzrai Department sources said that a circular has been issued to all the temples authorities to open their hundis at the earliest. “Normally, we open hundis once a month. Some are opened twice a week or once a fortnight depending on the collection. We were told to clear the hundis and pay to the bank before December 31. However, we can pay even after December 31 till March 31. But we have to submit an affidavit to the RBI,” the source said.