Staff Reporter

Plea to increase Priests Welfare Fund to Rs.150 crore

NELLORE: Archakas working in various temples urged the government to pay Rs.5,000 salary each per month and increase the Priests Welfare Fund to Rs.150 crore. They threatened to launch protests if the government failed to concede their demands.

Speaking at ‘Archaka Shankaravam’ organised by Nellore District Archaka Samakya here on Monday, Samakya State president T. Ramacharyulu said the government has formed the Archakula Samkshema Nidhi with Rs.75 crore in 1996, but the fund was not increased since then and demanded that it allot Rs. 150 crore for the welfare of priests. The priests demanded that the government appoint archakas as trustees in all devastanams, issue pattadar passbooks for temple lands, arrange regular review meetings to discuss the problems of priests in the State.

Rastra Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti president Sri Kamal Kumar Swami said about 25,000 priests are working in the State, of which only 3,000 archaka are drawing good wages. Stating that many families of priests are turning as labourers leaving their profession and many qualified archakas are doing different works to feed their families, he appealed to the government not to interfere into the functioning of devastanams and allot funds for ‘Deepa Dupa Naivedyams’ in all temples across the state.

Archaka Samakya state general secretary A. Atreya Babu, Nellore District Brahmana Sangam president V.Chandramouli and others attended the meeting.