Plan to lease out Devaswom lands: Radhakrishnan

Minister for Devaswoms, SC, ST, and Backward Classes Welfare K. Radhakrishnan has said the government is mulling a proposal to lease out unutilised land held by cash-strapped Devaswom boards to generate revenue.

While Indian Overseas Bank has offered to take such land on lease and develop infrastructure, no decision has been taken yet on the proposal, he said.

Speaking to mediapersons at a meet-the-press programme here on Tuesday, Mr. Radhakrishnan said several assets held by the Devaswoms were lying neglected at a time when their revenue was drying up, with the boards relying on the government to meet expenses.

“A pragmatic approach, and not unnecessary controversies, was the need of the hour to help the Devaswoms stand on their own. The Travancore Devaswom Board has nearly 3,000 acres, including nearly 10.5 acres at Shangumugham here, and the Malabar Devaswom Board over 25,000 acres that lie unused,” he said.

The Minister also hinted at the possibility of a social audit of various schemes being undertaken for the welfare of Backward Classes, including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. While several crores had been spent on projects, the plight of such sections remained largely the same, he said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said around 20,000 tribal school and college students in 60 areas lacked internet and electricity connectivity, which hindered digital learning. While their education was being provided top priority, the government had adopted steps to distribute IT devices to the 36,000-odd Scheduled Caste students who lacked them.

A high-level committee had been entrusted to collect data and recommend steps to address such problems among the marginalised communities.

Referring to the Tamil Nadu government’s move to appoint women priests in temples, he said Kerala could not replicate every decision of other States in religious matters owing to “varying tolerance levels”. This was evident in the case of the controversial Sabarimala women-entry issue at a time when temples in Maharashtra had been enabling women’s entry into temples, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 5:37:37 PM |

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