Demonetisation: Donations swell at India's richest temples, pilgrims decline
The queue in India’s richest temple, Sri Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati, has thinned but the collections have gone up after the demonetization move by the Central government.
Tirupati: The queue in India’s richest temple, Sri Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati, has thinned but the collections have gone up after the demonetization move by the Central government.
This has forced authorities at the temple in Tirupati to install another collection box or hundi.
News18 quoted a source in Tirumala Tirupati Devesthanam Board, which runs the temple, as saying that rise could be on account of rich devotees dumping Rs 500 and Rs 1000, which are no longer legal tender, into the donation box.
“There is no ban on devotees dropping Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes in the hundi. The government has not instructed us to do that. Second, whatever the devotees offer is a personal thing. They do it secretly and no one questions them or keeps track of them. It is a matter of their faith. There is no way we can prevent them from doing that,” he told the media house, requesting anonymity.
The trustee added that there had been a small drop in the number of visitors since last week.
“On an average one lakh people visit the temple every day. There is a decline in that. May be around 25-30%,” he was quoted as saying.
But TTD is not accepting the old currency notes for other services at the temple. The devotees are asked to pay only in new currencies or in the denomination of Rs 100 and below.
Credit and debit card swiping machines have been installed at the temple for the smooth transaction of daily proceedings.
At the same time, TTD board is helping those in need on account of the cash crunch and has doubled free water and food counters.
On the other hand, as per the report, Kollur Mookambika temple in Karnataka, is also seeing dwindling devotee inflow.
Temple chief priest Manjunath Adiga told News18, “the number has gone down in the last one week. We are now getting a few devotees. The demonetisation is the main reason. It is a government administered temple. There can be no scam. Whatever we get goes into the account of the temple. Every paisa is accounted for. If we still get old denomination currencies, we will deposit them in the banks."
However, Mathura's Sri Krishna Temple has requested devotees not to drop scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes in its hundis.
Poor are having a sound sleep, the corrupt are upset: PM Modi
Meanwhile, pummelling the Congress and other parties which are opposing demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the corrupt were upset while the poor were "enjoying a sound sleep" after his decision and urged people to bear some inconvenience to root out graft.
"After demonetisation, the poor are enjoying a sound sleep while rich are running from pillar to post to buy sleeping pills," PM Modi said in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
Stating that he understood the inconvenience being faced by people due to demonetisation, PM Modi compared his action to a new whitewash which gives out pungent smell, but is necessary.
"My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for 'kadak' (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich," he said at BJP's parivartan yatra rally in Ghazipur.
The PM recalled that Congress governments had imposed Emergency, stifling rights of the people and the media, and had banned 'chavanni' (25 paise coins).
"Under which law did they ban 'chavanni', it is another thing that they could not move beyond 'chavanni'. You took the step as per your stature and we did what matched ours," he said taking a swipe at the Opposition party, as per PTI.
He added that there was no dearth of money for development, but the fact was that money was stashed away somewhere else and not where it should have been.
The Prime Minister said he knew he was up against the powerful but vowed to continue his "fight for the poor, farmers and villagers".
"I know what all I will have to bear as those who have their coffers full are very strong people. They have the strength to buy governments. They have the power to topple and can spoil the future (of anyone) but should I be afraid of such people? Should I shun the path of honesty and run away. It is with your blessings that I have taken up such a big fight," he said.
(With Agency inputs)