‘Temple vacancies will be filled’

Appointments on compassionate grounds will be made initially, says Minister

Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P.K. Sekarbabu said on Saturday that the DMK government would give priority to the filling of vacancies in temples.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam here, he said the AIADMK government had made announcements to fill these vacancies, but failed to carry them through.

He received representations that the backlog had affected the routine work at many temples. Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was committed to addressing all grievances. The HR&CE Department was asked to list the vacancies. As a first step, appointments would be made on compassionate grounds.

Likewise, many representations highlighted the delay in payment of pension to retired temple employees, and they would also be considered, he said.

Asked about the illegal occupation of temple lands, including those of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Mr. Sekarbabu said action would be taken to retrieve the assets.

The Srirangam temple owned 330 acres, as per the records being preserved since 1866, but only 24 acres was under the control of the temple administration. The rest was being held by encroachers in the form of houses, shops and business establishments. If the landholders approached the temple or the HR&CE Department, they could be treated as tenants. Otherwise, judicial action would be taken against them.

The Minister said the Srirangam temple was getting a large number of cattle in offerings. Since the ‘goshala’ was overflowing, a proposal would be made to open one more shelter.

Food scheme

To a question, the Minister said the ‘annadhanam’ scheme had been suspended because of COVID-19. Instead of food being served at the temples, it was given in packets to devotees and the poor. The scheme would be revived once the pandemic came under control.

R. Kannan, Additional Commissioner, HR&CE; S. Sivarasu, Collector; S. Marimuthu, Joint Commissioner, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple; and senior officials accompanied the Minister.

Later, Mr. Babu visited Sri Mariamman Temple at Samayapuram.

Speaking to reporters at Mannargudi after visiting Sri Rajagopalaswamy Temple, the Minister said infrastructure at the educational institutions run by the HR&CE Department would be improved.

Steps would be taken to ensure quality education at the institutions run by the Department. To achieve this, the infrastructure would be improved.

Apart from visiting the important temples in Tiruvarur district, he inspected Sri Periyanayaki Amman Higher Secondary School at Muthupettai, which is run by the Department.

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