One may need token system to enter temples to prevent crowding
Bengaluru: Muzrai, Wakf and Haj Minister Shashikala Jolle has instructed officials to conduct surveys of temple properties under its jurisdiction across the State.
Giving the orders after the puja ceremony at her new office at Vikasa Soudha in Bengaluru on Wednesday, the Minister directed officers to collect all details pertaining to Grade A, B and Grade C temples in all districts by conducting property surveys and initiate measures to protect them.
Under the Hindu Religious Endowment Department, over 35,000 temples in Karnataka are categorised into ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ categories based on their revenue generation. There are 18,228 staff. Those generating more revenue are under ‘A’, those generating little less revenue are under ‘B’ and temples not generating any revenue are under ‘C’ category.
The Minister also said that hygiene has to be maintained at temple premises and it should be given first priority. She also asked them to ensure steps are taken to provide necessary infrastructure including drinking water and toilet facilities to devotees.
“One of the major projects of the State Government — conducting mass marriages — has been confined to South Karnataka. Awareness campaigns will be taken up throughout the State to spread the scheme,” she added.
Jolle directed the officers to prepare blueprints regarding building of facilities for lodging pilgrims at famous temples of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. She also asked them to check the availability of land at Pandharpur and Tulaja Bhavani pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra to build residential complexes.
She asked the officials to visit the Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and find a site for the construction of a pilgrim residence for the devotees from Karnataka visiting it.
She reviewed the schemes available to the public from the Muzrai Department and how many pilgrim residences are there for accommodation for devotees near the temples. She urged the officials to provide information on the scope of construction of new pilgrim residences near the temples.
Instead of imposing a complete ban on entry to temples in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she asked them to know what steps could be taken to allow entry to specific devotees in a phased manner.
As temples were shut during the lockdown, devotees have been thronging temples ever since restrictions were eased. The crowd is usually big at popular temples. In order to regulate this, the Government is planning to allow a restricted number of devotees instead of closing them.
The Minister directed the officials to work out a module where a certain number of devotees can be allowed, maintaining all protocols. She held discussions with the Additional Managing Director of the Wakf and Haj Department Sarfaraz Khan and took stock of the programmes being conducted at the Haj Bhavan.
Officials informed her that presently Haj Bhavan is being used as a COVID centre. Muzrai Department Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri and other senior officials of the Department were present at the meeting.