The Gold Card scheme of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR and CE), which was announced to raise funds for improving basic amenities at temples in Tamil Nadu, has proved to be a major draw.

The special patron scheme for donors has raised Rs. 1.75 crore in just four months of its launch in July through 37 members, P.R. Shampath, Commissioner of the HR and CE Department, said here on Thursday. This scheme entitles donors to have special darshan at all temples controlled by the HR and CE Department in the State for 20 years.

The Commissioner was here to visit the Lord Kallazhagar Temple located at Alagarkoil near here. The temple had some long-pending demands regarding its kumbhabhishekam such as the purchase of gold for its Vimanam. While earlier 12 kilograms of gold was the estimated requirement, the present requirement is 22 kg.

“I have cleared the purchase of 5 kg of gold by using the temple's funds from the Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, Tiruchi, and another 5 kg would be obtained by converting the devotees’ offering into gold blocks by sending it to the Mumbai mint,” he said. Purchase of another 6 kg of gold for renovating the ‘thanga kuthirai vahanam’ has also been cleared. A suitable date for performing the kumbhabhishekam at the temple would be announced after consulting various sections, said the Commissioner.

Speaking about the Adi Dravidar Temple Tirupani Scheme, Mr. Shampath said that 1,000 temples have been sanctioned this year with Rs. 25,000 allotted for each temple. While an earlier form of the scheme was already operational, the norms had been modified, making the HR and CE department officials go to the Adi Dravidar locality, constitute a ‘Tirupani’ committee of five persons and give the money to that village.

“The revised scheme was launched by the HR and CE Minister at Sivaganga. It attracted a good response, especially at the Tirupathur Taluk in that district. It would be taken to all districts in the State,” he said.