Assembly passes Bill to form Chamundi Hill Authority
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Assembly passes Bill to form Chamundi Hill Authority

February 22, 2024
  • Bill tabled on Feb. 19; unanimously passed in Legislative Assembly on Feb. 21.
  • Authority to have 15 members with Chief Minister as Ex-Officio Chairman.
  • Five nominated members; Permanent membership to legal descendants of the erstwhile Mysore Royal Family.

Bengaluru: Months after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah initiated a proposal to establish the Chamundi Hill Development Authority aimed at fostering sustainable development of the Hill, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has granted approval for the formation of the Statutory Authority for the Hill Temple.

‘Sri Chamundeshwari Kshethra Abhivruddhi Pradhikara Bill-2024’ (Bill Number 10) was tabled by Ramalinga Reddy, Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, during the ongoing Session on Feb. 19 and was passed yesterday (Feb. 21).

This move addresses a significant demand from the residents of Mysuru who seek to preserve the sanctity of Chamundi Hill, the Temple, and its delicate ecosystem. The groundwork for this initiative began during Basavaraj Bommai’s tenure as Chief Minister, with the preparation of  ‘Draft Bill for Sri Chamundeshwari Kshethra Abhivruddhi Pradhikara-2022’ and a requisition for implementing the Statutory Authority.

In the State Budget for 2023-2024 presented on July 7, 2023, Siddharamaiah reaffirmed the commitment to establishing an independent Chamundi Hill Development Authority, on the lines of Sri Malai Mahadeshwara Swamy Kshethra Development Authority, emphasising its role in providing essential infrastructure for multitude of devotees visiting Hill Temple in Mysuru.

Despite the announcement by the CM, specifics regarding the establishment timeline and the Authority’s jurisdiction remained unclear. However, progress has been made now in shaping the Statutory Authority. The Bill was tabled by Ramalinga Reddy, garnering unanimous approval.

The Authority will formally be known as ‘Sri Chamundeshwari Kshetra Abhivrudhi Pradhikara,’ with the CM serving as its Ex-Officio Chairman. Additionally, three elected representatives will act as Vice-Chairmen and five members will be nominated. The Authority will have 15 members. Notably, permanent membership in the Authority will be granted to the legal descendants of erstwhile Mysore Royal Family or their representatives.

Authority composition, three-year term

According to the Bill, the Mysuru District Minister and the Tourism Minister will serve as Vice-Chairmen of the Chamundi Hill Development Authority.

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Five distinguished individuals with extensive knowledge of the historical background and local lore of the Chamundeshwari Temple will be nominated as members. One member must belong to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, and one must be a woman member, as specified in the Authority’s structural framework.

MLA, MP representing partially or wholly the Chamundi Hill area and holding their Constituencies within its boundaries, as well as members from the Legislative Assembly, Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) or their representatives, Revenue Department Secretary or their representative not less than Deputy Secretary, Commissioner of Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department, Mysuru Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner of Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums, and Chief Priest of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple will serve as members. The Temple Executive Officer will serve as Member-Secretary.

Members appointed to the Authority will hold office for a term of three years. Thus, any member appointed may submit a resignation to the Government. However, the continuance in office is subject to acceptance of the resignation. All non-Government members will be entitled to remuneration.

What constitutes ineligibility

Individuals who are morally depraved or convicted for a crime and sentenced to imprisonment, or those suffering from unsound mind, and declared so by a competent Court, or those disqualified due to holding or controlling a body or corporation under the Central or State Government, or those relieved from service due to a penalty imposed by any Authority are not eligible to be members.

Furthermore, individuals directly or indirectly engaged in any business or contract as authorised by the Authority or through an agent, or those appointed as legal advisors receiving salary from the Authority, or those agreeing to the appointment of an advocate against the Authority’s interest, shall be ineligible to be appointed as members, as specified in the Bill.

Office and scope of the Authority

The Chamundi Hill Development Authority will be located within the premises of the Chamundeshwari Temple. This Authority will have the power to acquire, hold, manage, dispose of, and mortgage permanent properties, as well as to apply for, take, and accept leases and contracts.

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The term ‘Chamundi Kshetra’ encompasses all temples, including the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, within the Chamundi Hill region of Mysuru district and Mysuru taluk. It also includes other areas that the Government may periodically earmark through notification for the development of the Chamundi Hill area.

Funding and maintenance

This Authority is empowered to formulate development plans related to the Chamundi Hill area’s development and management. A fund named the Chamundi Hill Development Authority Fund will be established, and this fund will be utilised by the Authority for implementation and related matters.

The Authority has the power to create rules regarding the salaries payable to members, to consider any necessary or reasonable agreements to achieve the objectives of the by-law, to create rules regarding all agreements made, whether necessary or reasonable, to appoint employees, and to determine the salaries, allowances, and other service conditions of employees.

Moreover, the Statutory Authority has the power to create rules regarding the place, procedure, and timing of meetings, to create rules regarding the preparation and timing of the Authority’s annual income and expenditure, to create rules regarding the preparation and timing of the annual report, to prepare and publish the format of financial statements, and to create rules regarding the implementation of the by-law’s objectives.

I welcome formation of Authority: MP

This long-standing demand from the people of Mysuru has finally been realised with the establishment of the Chamundi Hill Development Authority, albeit after significant delays. It’s imperative now to curb the unchecked development of the temple and its surroundings by external parties. Only the original residents of Chamundi Hill should be permitted to reside and conduct business there, as it holds profound spiritual significance for them. Construction activities by outsiders must be strictly prohibited. The Centre has already granted Rs. 45.70 crore under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme. Let the State Government establish tourist and devotee-friendly facilities under PRASHAD Scheme without spending any money from its side. — Prathap Simha, Mysuru-Kodagu MP

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