Mysore, July 13 (KMC)- The members of Sri Chamundeshwari Ammanavara and Palace Muzrai Temple Employees' Association have objected to the decision of the District Administration asking the temple to pay money annually for the development of Chamundi Hill Gram Panchayat out of the temple's fund, in lieu of the cancellation of the contract for collecting parking fees from private vehicles visiting the hill temple.

Association President N. Sridhar Dikshit, in a press note, said that the diversion of temple fund to GP was a decision against temple's interests.

He recalled that on May 22, the then Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan had held a meeting with Panchayat officials, Gram Panchayat members and other officials and an order was passed to divert the temple fund.

The meeting came in the wake of complaints from the public against the practice of parking fee collection atop the hill.

Following complaints, the practice of parking fee collection was withdrawn and contract cancelled. By this move, the Panchayat incurred a loss of about 47 lakh this financial year (2010-11).

To make good this loss, the DC had convened the meeting and decided to compensate the Gram Panchayat using temple fund.

It was decided to pay the Gram Panchayat an average sum of Rs. 43,58,588 every year for a period of three years with an appreciation of 10 per cent. The contractor too was paid a sum of Rs. 12 lakh as compensation for the sum he was likely to earn from the contract in 3 years.

Dikshit stated that the parking fee collection by the Gram Panchayat did not benefit the temple in any way.

"Besides, the temple is paying 25 per cent towards the water supply expenditure. But the Panchayat had not reimbursed the amount," he said and pointed out various amenities that needed to be provided to devotees visiting the shrine.

"The landscaping work undertaken in the name of development (under JNNURM) at a cost of Rs. 68 lakh has been of no use to devotees visiting the temple," Dikshit pointed out and added that the CCTV installed at a cost of Rs. 5 lakh and public address system installed at a cost of Rs. 5 lakh were not in working condition.

"Even the Rs. 67 lakh spent on developing parks and erecting signboards is a wasteful expenditure," Dikshit alleged.

"There are 250 employees working at the Chamundeshwari group of temples and Palace Muzrai, having more than a 1000 dependants," Dikshit said and added that though they were granted hike in Dearness Allowance, it was not paid to them, fearing that the salaries would cross the 35 % limit of the total income.

He feared that the payment of Rs. 50 lakh to Gram Panchayat annually, with the addition of 10 per cent hike as appreciation, would amount to crores of rupees in the years to come.

"The discrepancies in the system of parking fee collection must be set right by Gram Panchayat itself and must hold the contractor responsible," Dikshit argued and deplored the decision of burdening the temple authorities.

He further warned that an agitation would be launched agitation against the District Administration's move, if the decision was not withdrawn immediately.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore