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With coffers empty, Padmanabhaswamy temple to seek help from royal family

The temple administration committee, which will meet in June-end, will discuss two proposals to tide over the crisis. 

Published: 15th June 2020 02:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2020 02:57 AM   |  A+A-

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the wake of depleting revenue amid lockdown restrictions, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple — which sits on Rs 1,00,000 crore wealth — has slipped into a deep financial crisis, prompting the management to take some extraordinary steps.

It plans to approach the trust controlled by the Travancore royal family for aid to tide over the crisis.

The famous shrine’s revenue from day-to-day activities has plummeted to near zero since the lockdown began on March 25. Even after the government brought in relaxations, the temple committee had decided to not allow entry of devotees till June 30.

“The monthly expense of the temple comes to around Rs 1.5 crore — Rs 1 crore for salary payment and the rest for purchases and office expenses. Previous savings from revenue earnings had helped the management run the show so far,” said V Ratheesan, temple’s executive officer. 

The temple administration committee, which will meet in June-end, will discuss two proposals to tide over the crisis. 

First one is to ask a substantial amount from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust which administered the temple until the Supreme Court entrusted it with a committee headed by the district judge. 

Temple committee to urge state govt to make timely increase in annual grant

The case on the ownership of the temple is pending with the apex court. “Several assets of the temple were transferred to the trust when it was formed by former Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in 1965. This was to mobilise money for the temple’s expenses. Hence, the trust is duty-bound to help the temple in a crisis like this,” said Ratheesan.

“At present, the trust gives ‘vilavasi’ -- an annual amount of Rs 5 lakh to the temple. We will demand the trust to hike it to Rs 25 lakh,” he said.  The trust’s revenue-generating assets include three marriage halls, a lodge, dormitory, over a dozen shops given for rent on and paid toilets on the temple premises. 

The temple administration committee will also urge the state government to make a timely increase in the annual grant given to it. The grant is as per the provisions of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950 and the covenant between the Government of India and the Travancore king.

A legislative committee had earlier proposed to increase the annual amount from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore. The administration committee plans to approach the government to clear the proposal.     

The executive officer said a salary challenge has been in place for the permanent employees since April. As per this, 20 per cent of the salary of about 150 employees are withheld. 

“All these will help meet the expenses till June. Even if devotees are allowed entry in July, there will be restrictions on their numbers and hence the income would be low. External support is inevitable,” Ratheesan said.

‘Salary challenge in place for permanent employees’

The executive officer said a salary challenge has been in place for the permanent employees since April. As per this, 20 per cent of the salary of about 150 employees are withheld. 

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