‘Temple wealth being misused in the absence of overseeing committees’

Former president of Malabar Devaswoam Board P. Chathukutty has condemned the State government’s failure to release funds for renovation of temples in northern districts.

In a statement issued by him on Tuesday, Mr. Chattukkutty also alleged that temple wealth was being misused in the absence of administrative committees to oversee the functioning of the temples. He said the dismissal of temple administration committees by a government order on April 12 had “orphaned temples in Malabar”. Another prime cause was the failure to reconstitute the Malabar Devaswom Board after its tenure ended in September last year.

He alleged these temples had not been given any funds for the last two years to carry out renovation work. Nearly 1,500 temples had been affected by the dismissal of administrative committees, Mr Chathukutty said.

The issue was taken up by K.N.A. Khader, MLA, who represents Vallikunnu, recently in the Assembly. In reply to his submission, it was stated that the committee of Malabar Devaswom Board that takes decision on disbursement of grants for temple renovation would meet on May 18.

Such a grant disbursement committee, controlled by the government, existed only in Malabar Devaswom Board. This committee was headed by the Devaswom Minister who was its chairman, and had as its members, president of Malabar Devaswom Board, chairpersons of standing committees, and the Devaswom secretary. The Commissioner of the Malabar Devaswom Board was its convener.

It was also said in the Assembly that an amount of Rs.3.5 crore had been set aside for distribution among temples as grants for 2011-12 and Rs.4.5 crore for 2012 to 2013.

This grant was proposed to be disbursed among temples for their renovation. The disbursement of funds would start as soon as the Malabar Devaswom Board was constituted.

The State government had also initiated action for re-constitution of the Board, Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar informed Mr. Khader in reply to his submission in the Assembly.

Raising the issue of grants in the Assembly, Mr. Khader had strongly argued for immediate release of funds for temple renovation and remarked the delay was unwarranted.

The list of temples eligible for grant was submitted way back on January 1 in 2012.

In his submission, the MLA made special mention of the need for funds for renovation of Idimuzhikkal Ayyappa temple, Chelembra Ilannummal temple, Kadunganari Kurumba Bhagavathy temple, Nedungottumadu Maha Vishnu temple, Variyathu Sree Maha Vishnu temple Azhinjilassery, Kadalundi Pisharikkal Durga Bhagavathy temple, Kadalundi Nagaram, and Thiruthikalam Siva Temple, Kolakkattuchali. These temples are in Vallimukku Assembly constituency.

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