TAMIL NADU

Temples in State open to accepting recalled notes as hundi offering

Countdown to counting:In temples like Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple, the hundi collections are usually counted twice or thrice a month, depending on the season and turnout of devotees.— File Photo: R. Ashok

Countdown to counting:In temples like Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple, the hundi collections are usually counted twice or thrice a month, depending on the season and turnout of devotees.— File Photo: R. Ashok  

Toeing the footsteps of Tirumala, popular temples in Tamil Nadu too would continue to receive demonetised currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 in their hundis as offerings from devotees and deposit them in their bank accounts. Union Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has already clarified that there will be no restrictions on temples and other places of worship accepting these withdrawn currencies in their offering boxes.

At the famous Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam in Tiruchi district, usually the collections in the hundi are counted twice or thrice a month, depending on the season and turnout of devotees. However, officials said that following the announcement on demonetisation, temple authorities counted the hundi collections the next day (November 9) and deposited the collections, including Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination notes, at the banks.

A Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department official said a ‘special counting’ would be undertaken by the last week of next month so that all the old currencies collected could be deposited with the bank before December 31. Nonetheless, no specific instructions have been given to the devotees on depositing the old currencies.

At Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, a senior temple official said that till December 30, they would continue to collect the old currencies in the hundi as per the RBI guidelines and asserted that there would be no restrictions.

With the Sabarimala season set to commence shortly, the number of devotees from other States stopping at temples in and around Madurai is all set to double. Offerings too would substantially go up, he said.

In the last quarter of the calendar year, the offerings usually doubled, thus taking the annual offering at the Meenakshi Temple to around Rs 7-8 crore. About Rs. 50-60 lakh cash is received every month, apart from a kilogram of gold and one to two kg of silver per month.

However, major temples are not accepting old currencies for special ‘darshan’ tickets. “The fee for special ticket ranges between Rs. 100 and Rs. 250 at various temples. We do not accept higher denomination currencies at the counters,” a HR&CE Department official said.



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