Some temples have put up a common payment link on the website of HR&CE dept.
Temple administrations in the State have begun asking devotees to donate funds or groceries for annadhanam scheme through which over one lakh packets of food are being distributed daily to the needy in hospitals.
With temples remaining shut for a large part of last year, many have run out of funds, including the allocation for annadhanam. “We have separate accounts for annadhanam scheme, general expenses and thiruppani (temple work) and have diverted funds from the general account to the annadhanam account to keep it running,” said an official in a major temple.
In other temples, reserve funds kept in fixed deposits have been withdrawn to fund the distribution of food. A total of 754 temples offer annadhanam daily from 20 to around 5,000 people each.
Recently, 349 temples under the scheme had informed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department that they would need support to continue the scheme. Following this, the department released ₹2.51 crore from its central annadhanam pool.
Around 50 temples, including Sri Dandayuthapani temple in Palani, Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam, and Sri Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore have updated their payment links on the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department website.
“Earlier, temples had individually posted payment links on their websites. But it was felt that a unified link would help. We have already started getting funds, thanks to this initiative,” said a source in a city temple.
A former official of the department said that it was unfortunate that temples had to dip into their deposits. “The government should ensure that the deposits are again made and a robust financial situation prevails in temples as otherwise they may not have funds for thiruppani,” he said.
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