THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has cancelled its earlier order regarding the restoration of sacred groves and renovation of ponds and ‘aaltharaas’ attached to temples.
An order, issued on Saturday, regarding this has also directed to make amendments in the criteria to accept applications for the same.
As per the order, trees or bamboos near temple ponds should not be cut down. Also, only those ponds used by devotees should be included in the renovation scheme.
The expense to renovate a pond shouldn’t exceed Rs 30 lakh.
Care should be given to protect the environment while trying to conserve sacred groves and defend the factors that pose threat to the environment.
The least invasive approach should be followed to protect the sacred groves. The restoration process should not interfere in the existing rituals of the groves.
The maximum amount to be spent on their renovation shouldn’t exceed Rs five lakh. For the conservation of ‘aaltharaas’ a maximum amount of Rs two lakh could be spent.
The scheme could also include the sacred groves, ponds and ‘aaltharaas’ attached to private temples other than the ones under Devaswom Boards.
The estimate for renovating those under the Devaswom Boards should be prepared by the engineering wings of the Devaswom Boards concerned. The estimate for renovating those under private temples should be prepared by the engineering wing of the local bodies concerned. In such cases the estimates should be submitted with a letter from the local body authorities.
The application for allotting funds should be submitted to the Devaswom Boards or the local bodies concerned before June 30 every year.
The application and the proposal should be submitted to the government within July 31.
Only those works sanctioned by the government should be carried out.