Row over `leaning` flagmast at Ettumanur temple

The new golden flagmast (dhwajam) erected at the famous Mahadeva temple at Ettumanur in Kottayam district has become the centre of a row.

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2010, 15:29 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The new golden flagmast
(dhwajam) erected at the famous Mahadeva temple at Ettumanur
in Kottayam district has become the centre of a row, with the
finding that it was leaning towards a side, just four months
after it was consecrated.

Devaswom Commissioner P V Nalinakshan Nair has submitted
a report to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) saying that
the 17.66 metre mast, built using gold weighing 5 kg, is found
to be leaning by 20 cm above the height of 12.37 metres.

While the mast consecration committee of the temple
dismissed the charge, TDB Chief Engineer Ravikumar, who
inspected the mast as directed by the Board, confirmed that it
was leaning by 20 cm and was likely to lean further in the
coming months.

The High Court had designated an Advocate Commissioner
for overseeing the replacement of the old mast and erection
and consecration of the new one, increasing the height of the
pole by five feet. The advocate`s apprehensions about the
likely problems of increasing the height of the pole were
ignored by the temple committee, Nair`s report says.

The report further said there was `lack of transparency`
in the collection and spending of funds from sponsors for
building the flagmast.

According to TDB sources, the Commissioner`s report would
be handed over to the Ombudsman after discussions.

Mast consecration committee convenor K N Sreekumar
termed the Commissioner`s report as `fake and said it was the
result of a conspiracy.` "The old mast was replaced as per the
wishes of devotees and the order of the High Court," he said.

The committee had submitted 13 reports to the High Court
from time to time on the process of erection and consecration
of the new mast, he told reporters here today.

A master plan for the all-round development of Mahadeva
temple had been submitted to the High Court. The aim of the
report was apparently to sabotage TDB`s approval of the master
plan, Sreekumar alleged.

PTI