Staff Reporter

KOZHIKODE: The Malabar Devaswom Board came into being on Thursday when the president and eight members took oath of office at a function here.

A large number of people, including temple employees, had gathered to watch the swearing-in ceremony of the long- awaited Malabar Devaswom Board. Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran, who presided over the meeting, said the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Ordinance 2008, by which the Board was constituted, had necessary clauses to interfere if there were instances of mismanagement in temples. Laws concerning the Guruvayur and Kudalmanickyam Devaswom Boards had provisions for government interference in case of temple mismanagement; while laws concerning the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards did not have such provisions.

The legislation regarding the new Board had changes such as inclusion of two women members and representatives from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. He said the new Board had its task cut out, including recovering the properties of temples, renovation of temples, revising the pay-scale of the employees and converting temples into places where social justice and communal harmony prevailed and which functioned as centres of devotion and arts.

PSC appointment

All appointments of the Devaswom Board would be handed over to the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC). Only Hindus would be appointed by the Board.

He said the present government had given a total of Rs.2.66 crore for 110 temples during the period 2005-06 to 2007-08. Commissioner of Malabar Devaswom Board P. Raghavan administered the oath of office to president K. Gopalakrishnan and eight other members.

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim; District Collector A. Jayathilak; Cochin and Guruvayur Devaswom Board chairmen T.G. Ravi and Thottathil Raveendran; additional chief secretary, Devaswom, K. Jayakumar; Mayor M. Bhaskaran, P. Sathidevi, MP; and MLAs attended.