Udupi, Nov 23: Home and muzrai minister, Dr V S Acharya, said here that the government plans to bring certain modifications in the rules and regulations governing the formation of the ‘Hindu Religious Endowments Institutions Committees’ to stop political interference in issues concerning the renovation and reconstruction of religious centres and the appointment of priests.
He was speaking after presiding over a function organized at Karamballi village near here, for laying the foundation for the second phase renovation works of the ancient Lord Venkatramana Temple on Sunday November 22.
“Several rounds of discussions have taken place about the constitution of the said committees. There is a proposal to give autonomy to temples that are run by particular castes of tribes. Relating to this issue, a High Court Judge will be the president of this committee at the state level, while at the district level, district judge and deputy commissioner will be in the committees. Several rounds of discussion with officials have been held. As the issue has not been tabled before the cabinet so far, no final decision has been taken as yet,” he explained. He also expressed his desire, having taken over the muzrai department, to make the department more proactive and give added impetus for developing the Hindu centres of faith.
“Our government has tried to help the priests, by increasing their monthly honorarium from the earlier Rs 500 to 1,000,” he noted.
Sri Vishwapriyateertha Swamiji of Admar Mutt, who laid foundation stones for the outer wall and flag post of the temple, said that the temples should remain just the centres of faith. People should come to temples only to prostrate to the Lord and to get their worries and problems solved by seeking divine intervention. In the recent past, we have been hearing about the centres of faith turning into storehouses of fire arms and ammunitions, which is a worrying development, he explained.
Raghupati Bhat said that a budget of Rs 1.75 crore has been prepared for the second phase of renovation of the temple, considered to be one of the most ancient in the region. He said that the renovation and construction of outer wall, flag post, shrines of Lord Anjaneya, Lord Ganapati and Lord Eshwara will be completed by May next year.
Temple managing trustee and MLA, K Raghupati Bhat, entrepreneur, G Shankar, trustees, K Anantaram Upadhya, Dr Ni Bi Vijay Ballal, Purushottam Shetty, Vittal Shetty and others were present. (Daiji)