Andhra Pradesh

Govt. more interested in revenue of temples than their problems: Ashok

Former Union Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju visited the Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple at Simhachalam, here on Wednesday and had darshan of the deity for the first time after his reinstatement by the A.P. High Court as hereditary trustee of the temple and chairman of the MANSAS Trust.

Last year, the government had issued a G.O. dismissing Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju as hereditary trustee of the temple and appointing Sanchaita Gajapathi Raju in his place.

Addressing the media later, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said it was the basic responsibility of the Central and State governments to uphold the Constitution and protect ‘dharma’.

There were 105 temples under the Vizianagaram ‘samsthanam’, and these had been established by the royal family along with the contributions of the devotees in those days, and hence they did not belong to a single family, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju opined.

He recalled the efforts of the Simhachalam temple administration in the past to conserve natural resources such as water and protection of ecology by using solar power to meet the needs of the temple. The temple had received awards at the national level for energy conservation, he said.

Referring to temple funds and temple lands, he expressed the view that the government was interested in the revenue, but not about the problems.

‘Culprits still at large’

“I was dismissed from three temples on the pretext that I failed to protect the idols. The stones at the ancient Ananta Padmanabha Swamy temple, at Padmanabham in Visakahaptnam, where the Pandavas were said to have stayed, had been removed. The idol of Lord Rama was damaged at Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram district. Have the culprits been arrested?” Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju questioned.

The laddu prasadam rate and the ghat road ticket were increased to generate revenue, putting the common devotees to hardship, he said, and recalled that the prasadam had been sent to the cyclone victims of Srikakulam district in the past as a noble gesture.

He alleged that 17% of the temple funds (₹49 lakh) was being misused by the State government to advertise the Vahana Mitra scheme.

The former Union Minister also visited the ‘gosala’ being maintained by the temple management and planted saplings there along with his daughter Aditi Gajapathi Raju.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:17:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/govt-more-interested-in-revenue-of-temples-than-their-problems-ashok/article34834212.ece

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