The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Endowments on Friday discussed at length several issues, including strengthening of the department, salaries of temple priests and employees, protection of temple properties and others.
The meeting chaired by Endowments Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy was also attended by member-Ministers N. Narsimha Reddy, T. Nageswara Rao, J. Krishna Rao and T. Srinivas Yadav. Advisor to Government on Cultural Affairs K.V. Ramanachary, Secretary, Endowments, N. Sivasankar and others were also present.
The committee has agreed in-principle for setting up a special task force with the officials of the endowments, revenue, town planning and police departments for protection of temple land in GHMC limits.
The panel directed the officials to explore ways to get income from temple lands by protecting them elsewhere as well.
Stating that about 1,800 temples were covered under ‘Dhoopa, Deepa, Naivedyam’ scheme by paying Rs. 6,000 monthly honorarium to priests, Mr. Indrakaran Reddy said it was desirable to include more temples under the scheme since a large number of representations were received from people and elected representatives. He asked the officials to prepare a list of temples which could be upgraded based on their revenue.
Mode of payment
Further, the meeting discussed the best possible method for payment of salary to temple staff and priests, but stopped short of taking a decision on it.
Increase of their salary and improving welfare measures, including assistance for their children’s higher education, were also discussed. It was decided to hold a meeting with temples’ staff and priests once again.
The issues of leasing out temple lands, their protection and resuming the encroached ones also figured in the meeting.
The committee asked the concerned officials to prepare proposals on filling vacancies and promotions soon.