Kochi: Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran on Thursday said the Government proposed to set up an independent trust to supervise and conduct the Sabarimala temple festival.

Deposing before the high-power commission headed by K.S. Paripoornan here, he said the trust, consisting of pundits and technical experts, would be under the control of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). He said the Government was thinking of increasing the number of members in the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards.

The Minister told the commission that the Government proposed to establish a tantrik university to impart training in conducting rituals and pujas to tantris and priests. It would not be under the control of the University Grants Commission.

Mr. Sudhakaran said that tantris were not able to give spiritual solace to the faithful. In this context, the Government proposed to set up the university. Teachers in the proposed university could make periodic inspection to see whether the priests were doing their duties properly.

The Government, he said, proposed to constitute statutory committees in local Devaswoms to administer temples under them. The Government was of the view that no political interference should be allowed in the day-to-day affairs of temples.

Mr. Sudhakaran said the Government had plans to constitute a temple protection team headed by an Inspector-General of Police.

The Minister said he was requesting Chief Justice H.L. Dattu to get the auditing of the accounts of the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards done effectively by the High Court. (The auditing of accounts of the Boards is conducted by the High Court).

The Government was of the view that the Devaswoms should be reconstituted from top to bottom levels in view of rampant corruption. In reply to a question, he said the TDB had plans to start a medical college. He agreed with the view of the commission that there was no work culture and discipline in many temples under the TDB.

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