VIJAYAWADA: Thought it’s been four years since the then government announced the ten-day Dasara festivities celebrated atop Indrakeeladri a State festival, the Durga temple officials still find it hard to meet the expenses for holding it on a grand note.
The officials have been spending for the festivities from the temple’s revenue with the hope that the government may reimburse them.In 2015, then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had announced birth anniversaries of Alluri Seetharama Raju and Prakasam Pantulu, and Dasara as State festivals, and stated the government would allot funds for their celebrations. However, funds for Dasara, which was celebrated just two weeks after the announcement, were not released .
Then temple executive officer (EO) Ch Narsinga Rao spent around `6 crore for the celebrations. The amount more than doubled to `13 crore the next year; in 2017, `8.3 crore was spent when A Surya Kumari was temple EO. “Though Surya Kumar had written a letter to the State government, requesting release of the said funds, the temple failed to get the money due to various reasons,” a senior official said, on the condition of anonymity.
His successor, V Koteswaramma, also tried to get the money released, but in vain. As Durga puja at the temple became popular by the year with influx of more devotees, the cost of celebrations also increased, gradually. “Every year, money released from the Endowments department is being spent. This time, we are expecting that the new government will support us by releasing funds for the festival,”
the present EO, Suresh Babu, said.
According to sources, the EO had written a letter to Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivasa Rao seeking immediate disbursement of funds with the Dasara festival inching closer.Minister Srinivasa Rao told TNIE the issue was under consideration and a meeting would soon be conducted with temple officials. “Soon, we are going to bring the issue to the notice of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. In a day or two, we are expecting a positive response from him,” he said.