Councils to Govern Temples

Bangalore, May 25, DHNS: The State Government will constitute state and district level bodies to administer muzrai temples, Muzrai Minister V S Acharya has said.

The proposed Rajya Dharmika Parishat (state religious council) and Zilla Dharmika Parishats (district religious councils) will be constituted under the amended Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowements Act.

A bill to amend the Act was passed by the Assembly sans any discussion with the Opposition staging a dharna in the House. The Governor has given his assent to the bill, Acharya told reporters on Wednesday. The Act provides for setting up of a 10-member Rajya Dharmika Parishat headed by the Muzrai minister. The parishat will be vested with the authority to form committees for management of temples with a gross annual income of Rs 10 lakh and above. As many as 150 temples in the State come under this category.

Zilla Dharmika Parishats headed by respective deputy commissioners will constitute committees to administer temples in districts with a gross annual income between Rs one lakh and Rs 10 lakh. The management committees comprise the pradhana archaka (principal priest) and devotees including one member from Scheduled Castes/Tribes, two women and three persons living in the vicinity of the temple. Mutts and temples attached to mutts have been kept out of the purview of the Act.

Grants enhanced

The minister said a sum of Rs 180 crore had been provided last year for renovation of temples in the State. The annual grants (tastik) to 3,600 temples has been increased to Rs 12,000 from Rs 6,000 per annum to enable to meet daily puja expenses. The Act provides for registration of private temples, prohibits a share in the hundis and other income to temple servants and restrains private individuals and organisations from raising funds from the public in the name of temples.

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