The Supreme Court-mandated administrative committee for Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which met here on Sunday, decided to begin counting of the offerings in the temple’s ‘kanikka’ boxes on May 7.

Committee member and District Collector Biju Prabhakar said here that the counting would be done by the officials of the Dhanalakshmi Bank — who had been doing the job — in the presence of committee chairperson and Additional District and Sessions Judge K.P. Indira. “Apparently, the Kanikka boxes have not been opened for about six months now,” Mr. Prabhakar said.

The members on the committee, who met on Sunday, namely, Ms. Indira, Mr. Prabhakar, and chartered accountant S. Vijayakuumar, along with the City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh, also reviewed the temple’s security apparatus. As part of stepping up security, the Department of Archaeology had been ordered to terminate its excavation work there.

The excavations began following the discovery of a flight of steps near the temple’s north gate. Further excavations on Saturday revealed the presence of an urn and a hand-crafted roof tile. “The committee felt that the ongoing excavation work near the temple would only refocus attention on the shrine and this itself could lead to a security situation. Moreover, the Supreme Court is overseeing the affairs of the temple, so there is also the question of getting sanction from the apex court for such activities,” Mr. Prabhakar said. Culture Minister K.C. Joseph also issued orders to the Archaeology Director asking him not to conduct any excavation work without the permission of the committee.

Director’s assurance

A press note issued here said the Director had assured the Minister that all excavation work would be terminated on Monday.

The administrative committee had decided to develop the accommodation facilities for security personnel at the temple after finding out that the current facilities were inadequate and ‘pathetic.’

The committee, to meet regularly to review security arrangements, would also closely follow the installation of a comprehensive security system. The system was expected to be in place in another 45 days, he said.