Convention of Devadasis to be held in Gulbarga

Staff Correspondent

They want an increase in the proposed pension to Rs. 750

DemandsProvide loans to take up dairy activity and farmingAllot lands and houses under Ashraya scheme

BELLARY: A convention of Devadasis of north Karnataka will be held in Gulbarga in the first week of January to urge the State Government to increase their proposed pension amount, conduct a survey, provide a minimum of two acres of land and extend soft loans of up to Rs. 25,000 to take up dairy activity and farming.

Around 2,000 Devadasis, from nine districts of north Karnataka would participate in the convention, U. Basavaraj, president of the newly-formed Devadasi Mahileyara Vimochana Sangha, said.

While welcoming the announcement made by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy that pension would be paid to Devadasis, Mr. Basavaraj said that it had been a long-pending demand. He said the Rs. 300 announced as monthly pension was less and urged the Government to enhance it to Rs. 750 to prevent the Devadasis from continuing the practice.

The convention would also urge the State Government to conduct a survey of Devadasis in the State.

He said the figures with the Government, that there were around 23,000 Devadasis, was not correct as it was based on the survey conducted 15 years back.

He said that official figures showed that Devadasis resided only in two taluks in Bellary district but in fact they were all over the district and number was 10,000.

He said the system prevailed even today, especially among the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, mainly because of poverty.

The Government could put an end to this practice by coming out with a comprehensive plan to help Devadasis.

They should be allotted land and houses under the Ashraya scheme and also given soft loans of up to Rs. 25,000, he said.

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