No question of discontinuing Annadanam scheme: Minister

Special Correspondent

500 temples to be renovated in current financial year

CHENNAI: There is no question of discontinuing the Annadanam scheme being implemented at 360 temples in the State, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister K.R. Periakaruppan informed the Assembly on Friday.

Presenting the demands of his Ministry, Mr. Periakaruppan said the Government would not abandon good schemes just because the previous government had initiated them. A special corpus had been created and the interest accruing from it was being utilised for running the scheme.

Asserting that the Government was committed to protecting temple land and properties, the Minister said steps were being taken to remove encroachments on temple land.

Cases filed

Stating that Rs. 35.09 crore was due from tenants of temple land and buildings, he said so far 32,885 cases had been filed in revenue courts in different parts of the State. Of these 15,764 cases had been disposed of and Rs 13.05 crore ordered to be paid to temples.

In the current financial year, it had been decided to renovate 500 temples in the State, including Meenakshi Sundereswarar temple, Madurai, Kallazhagar temple, Alagarkoil, Subramaniaswamy temple, Tiruchendur, and Vadapalani Andavar temple, Vadapalani.

Rope car

As the existing rope car in Dandayuthapani Temple, Palani, was unable to meet the demand during festivals, it had been decided to install one more rope car at a cost of Rs. 6 crore.

Similarly, for the convenience of devotees visiting the Lakshminarasimha Swamy temple atop the Sholingar hills, a rope car would be set up. A detailed project study would be undertaken for installing a rope car to link Palani and Kodaikanal. It was a longstanding demand of tourists and devotees.

Work on the south and north towers of the Ramanatha Swamy temple, stopped three years ago, would be completed soon. About 2,000 villages would be selected in the State for constructing new temples or renovating the existing ones in Adi Dravida colonies in villages. Each temple would be given Rs. 25,000.

Congress MLA E.S.S.Raman demanded setting up of a fact-finding committee to remove encroachments on temple land.

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