Commissioner seeks details of employees who have completed five years in one place
Mysuru/Bengaluru: Former Mysuru DC Rohini Sindhuri, who is now the Commissioner for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, has issued a circular seeking details of the Muzrai Temple staff who are serving in all categories of temples for more than five years.
As per Government rules, no State staff can serve in a particular place for more than three years and this rule has so far not been applied to staff of Muzrai Temples. Now the Commissioner has moved in the direction of applying the same yardstick to the staff serving at various temples for more than five years.
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’.
In a circular issued on June 28 to Assistant Commissioners of the Endowment Department and all Deputy Commissioners, Rohini Sindhuri has sought information about the staff to provide a list of all the staff working in category A and B temples for more than five years.
To prevent misuse of funds
Rohini Sindhuri’s latest order comes at a time when many Muzrai temples have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Lack of transparency in affairs of some temples has caused a loss to the State exchequer. The ‘A Grade’ temples attract huge donations from devotees who make offerings through various sevas and hundis.
There are complaints that the staff and priests who are familiar with the day-to-day administration of the temples misuse the funds by diverting the hundi donation.
Most frauds do not come to light
Once the fraud is discovered, nothing much happens after the accused are suspended as political clout and familiarity of the place developed over the years are used to dodge disciplinary action and subsequent inquiries and transfers. Also, most of the times these misappropriations do not come to light as the appointments are made within the purview of the Temple Management Committee.
In fact, Rohini Sindhuri would become the first Commissioner to enforce the order if long-serving priests and staff are transferred.
It may be recalled here that last year, three employees of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple atop Chamundi Hill in Mysuru, a ‘Grade A temple,’ were suspended for manipulating software at the special entry counter and swindling lakhs of rupees. In 2018, the then Mysuru DC D. Randeep had suspended a Chamundi Hill Temple Priest for keeping the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ (plate where devotees offer money) on the offering box thereby preventing devotees from putting money into the offering box.
This apart, three employees of Sri Srikanteshwaraswamy Temple in Nanjangud, another major ‘A Grade’ category temple, were booked for depositing less money than was collected from devotees performing thulabara and other sevas.
Complaints have also come from other famous temples like the Kollur Mookambika Temple where the gold ornaments of the Goddess kept in the Treasury worth crores of rupees were stolen.
Minister reacts: Reacting to her circular, Muzrai Minister Kota Sreenivasa Poojari said that priests and staff working in A and B Grade category temples have to be transferred to other similar temples in a particular district.
“Many priests and staff too have expressed their desire to serve in different temples. The decision has been taken in the interest of Administration and a direction has been issued to make a list of staff working at one particular temple for more than five and 10 years,” he added.