Devaswom staff raise concern over Minister’s statement

Employees of the Malabar Devaswom Board (MDB) have raised concern over the statement of Devaswom Minister K. Radhakrishnan that the proposed revision in rules for temple employees will cause huge loss to the State exchequer.

However, MDB president M.R. Murali clarified that the Minister had discussed reaching a consensus before implementing the rules. “But the government will not have to shoulder any additional financial burden. In fact, a consolidated account for income of temples will benefit the employees,” he told The Hindu on Thursday.

He said the government was committed to implementing the Malabar Devaswom Comprehensive Amendment Bill. “The Bill is under the active consideration of the government. However, it has to be vetted by the Law Department. It is in the final stages. There is no confusion over the Minister’s statement,” Mr. Murali said.

He added that the temples under the MDB were still being governed in accordance with the Hindu Religious Endowments Act passed by the Madras Presidency. “So, the government will go ahead with the new Bill,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kerala State Temple Employees Coordination Committee convener V.V. Sreenivas said successive governments had only passed a few amendments to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act. The employees will benefit only if the Assembly adopts the recommendations of the four-member committee led by Adv. K. Gopalakrishnan.

Around 7,000 employees are attached to 1,339 temples and 800-odd minor temples in the five divisions of Kasaragod, Thalassery, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Palakkad.

It was in 1992 that the High Court of Kerala initiated suo motu proceedings based on a report in The Hindu on the plight of employees at temples in the Malabar region. The report had highlighted the state of affairs of temples as well as the poor living conditions of the employees.

In its judgment two years later, the High Court ordered to fix reasonable income for temple employees and set up a Malabar Devaswom Management Fund. “Till now, the plight of the employees has not changed despite several wage revisions based on grading temples in various years and the constitution of the Malabar Devaswom Board in 2008,” said Mr. Sreenivas, who had earlier moved a contempt petition against the implementation of the High Court verdict.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 7:36:06 AM |

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