Retired judge KT Sankaran, responsible for preparing guidelines for the purchase of puja items in temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TBD) of Kerala, has submitted a report to the Supreme court that says that poor quality materials are being used for rituals under the supervision of the board run by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led state government. The report says that even the oil used for lighting the lamps around the temple is of a type that is unusable, extracted from used lamps.
A Supreme court bench chaired by Justice DY Chandrachud had formed the committee following complaints from various quarters.
The Sankaran board report says 1 kg of sandalwood costs around Rs 10,000, which temples under TDB cannot afford. The committee report has called for the use of quality inorganic items or original sandalwood.
The financial affairs of the temple management board of Kerala are pathetic too. Salaries of employees of other temples (revenue deficit temples) are met from the revenue of around 50 better-off temples, says the report that also flags the concern that in many a temple, the money spent on salaries of employees exceeds the actual revenue from it.
The interim report has been compiled based on the judge’s visit to 60 temples. Though the commission sought
had sought nine months more for submitting the final report. However, the Supreme Court has directed him to submit it by 30 September.
The acute mismanagement of temple resources by the Kerala government notwithstanding, the ruling CPM wants to get rid of the people who can expose their corruption and inefficiency. In a related development, Kerala Minister K Radhakrishnan said in the assembly that RSS shakha activities continued to be witnessed in some temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board, which the state government would weed out.
The CPM-led LDF government had issued a circular on 30 March 2021, directing the deputy Devaswom commissioner, assistant Devaswom commissioner and administrative officer to stop RSS training on temple premises. The circular directed the temple authorities under the Malabar Devaswom Board to prevent such activities.
The minister said that activities of the RSS in the temples under the Guruvayur, Kochi and Koodalmanikyam temples had not come to notice so far.
Credit: Indus Scrolls