Rs. 20-crore corpus for `annadhanam' scheme planned

SALEM March 30 . It has been proposed to create a corpus of Rs. 20 crores for carrying out the `annadhanam' scheme in temples that do not boast of adequate income, the HR & CE Minister, P.C. Ramasamy, said today.

Temples having a comfortable financial position would contribute to the proposed corpus. The amount would be deposited in banks and the interest accrued would be made available to temples starved of funds, the Minister said.

At a function organised here to solemnise 169 mass marriages, Mr. Ramasamy said there had been no let-up in the implementation of the scheme in as many as 144 temples. Before launching the scheme, the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, had studied all its aspects, and, nowhere, it suffered for lack of funds. Ever since it was started, 53.07 lakh people had benefited, he said.

Till February 23, the contributions received through the temples for the scheme was in the order of Rs. 707.3 lakhs, and the expenditure incurred was Rs. 413.4 lakhs. The Minister said that in keeping with the tradition that `kumbabishekam' must be performed once in 12 years, the ritual had been completed in 967 temples. The `nandhavanams' in 195 temples had been spruced up, and 328 new ones would be set up soon.

A total number of 228 temple tanks had been desilted so far, and rainwater harvesting had been put in place in 422 temple tanks. In 1,060 temples, protected water was being supplied, and separate sanitation facilities for men and women had been provided in 165 temples.

Arrangements had been made in 460 temples to conduct at least a single `pooja' in a day.

A total number of 100 temples, located in the Adi Dravida and tribal habitations, had been identified for extending a financial aid of Rs. 25,000 a year.

Renovation works on 44 temple cars had been completed and works on 20 more cars would be taken up soon.

The Chief Minister had agreed to grant Rs. 65 lakhs for the purpose, Mr. Ramasamy said.

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