Thousands of antique bells and utensils made of bell metal, brass and copper, which are lying abandoned in the storerooms of various temples controlled by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), will go under the hammer soon. According to initial estimates, the auction would fetch the Board cash around Rs 3-4 crore. The High Court, some months ago, had allowed the TDB to auction off the ‘burdensome’ treasure trove as its storing and maintenance had become a headache for the Board.
Following the court order in January this year, the Board conducted an audit and listed 79,000 kg of bell metal, 136 kg of brass and 232 kg of copper wares to be disposed.
“Bells and wares cast in bell metal, brass and copper are the usual offerings made by devotees. As we hadn’t sold it off for the past several years, several temples were having a tough time managing the accumulated asset,” said TDB Commissioner N Vasu.
“The problem was severe at major temples such as Ettumanoor and Malayalapuzha where the offerings exceeded the capacity of storerooms,” he said.
The first phase of auction was held at the Assistant Commissioner offices some weeks ago.
“At several places the quoted amount was far above the fixed minimum rate of Rs 300 a kg,” Vasu said.
At some offices no one turned up to quote the minimum rate and the Board has decided to go in for a re-auction.
The re-auction will begin at the Board headquarters here on September 24 in the presence of Assistant Commissioners concerned.
“We have also asked the winning bidders to remove the material immediately. The disposal will be held under the supervision of Vigilance officials at all centres,” Vasu said.