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No spike in donations: temple trusts

Amidst concerns that religious institutions and places of worship may be used to dump the now-banned high denomination notes, two of the richest temple trusts in India say there has been no appreciable spike in donations of demonetised denominations since the Centre’s decision on Tuesday night.

“We opened the donation boxes yesterday and didn’t find any significant spurt in the overall donation amount or in demonetised denominations,” said Sanjay Patil, executive officer of Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir Nyas, Mumbai, adding, “In my opinion, black money hoarders will first look at all other means of exchanging the notes. When other means fail, they might donate to temples for charity four or five days before December 30.”

Bajirao Shinde, executive officer of Shri Saibaba Sansthan, which manages Saibaba temple in Shirdi, said the temple donation boxes are opened every Tuesday and Friday. “On Tuesday, before the demonetisation was announced, the counting showed total donations of Rs. 1.51 crore. Yesterday, our counting showed a sum of Rs. 1.50 crore. So there is no sharp increase.”

Mr. Shinde, however, did say that Friday’s counting showed that donations in Rs. 500 notes had decreased while there was a sharp rise in Rs. 1,000 notes, but said that this was not a concern. “We don’t feel the need to seal donation boxes. Whatever collections we get, we will deposit those in the bank account before December 30.”

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