State to pay pujas in old temples to prevent conversions

source: Deccan Chronicle, July 10, 2007

Hyderabad, July 9: To prevent the possibility of religious conversions at the village level, the endowments department has decided to revive pujas and rituals in all old temples. As a first step, the department would extend financial support to 4,000 temples out of 32,000 in the State. It will give Rs 1000 for pujas and Rs 1,500 as honorarium to priests.

 

The Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams will allot grants for the effective implementation of the scheme. It is expected benefit archakas who have been demanding salaries for the several years on par with priests of 21 big temples. According to the guidelines issued by the department, temples which require grants should be listed in Section 6 of the Endowments Act. The temples should have been constructed at least 25 years ago and should not have an income of more than Rs 30,000 per year. Committees running the temples have been asked to apply before July 18.

District level committees appointed by the government will verify the physical condition of the temples before issuing the grants. Officials expect that regular spiritual activity in the villages will prevent people from converting to faiths other than Hinduism. According to them, people are being attracted towards other faiths since there is nobody to explain the culture and traditions of Hinduism. "Temples play a vital role in preserving our heritage and culture. They will also inculcate unity among the people. So we have decided to extend financial support to all temples in a phased manner," said endowments commissioner P. Sundara Kumar.

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