Rs 98.66 cr fall in Sabarimala revenue
Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devaswom board has reported a fall of Rs 98.66 crore in revenue of Sabarimala Lord Ayappa temple during Mandala-Makaravilakku season. Hence, a shortfall of Rs 78 crore was reported in the short term fixed deposit which was created to meet the monthly expenses of the temple.
The details were revealed in a report submitted by the Devaswom accounts officer. As per the report, incidents following the Supreme Court order allowing women entry, flood and Nipah outbreak in north districts of Kerala resulted in the fall in revenue.
During the Mandala-Makaravilakku season in 2017, the temple earned Rs 277,42,02,803 cr. But in 2018 the revenue fell to Rs 178,75,54,333 cr. According to the officials this will be the biggest fall in revenue collection compared to previous pilgrimage seasons.
Revenue fall in other temples
Apart from Sabarimala, most of the temples under Travancore Devaswom Board also faced revenue shortfall. Among the 1250 temples under TDB, only 60 collected the income to meet the daily expenses. Other temples are depending on Sabarimala temple to find income. It is observed that the revenue in all temples has fallen in non-pilgrimage seasons too. Hence, apart from renovation and new constructions, only necessary repair works are being carried out at the temples.
Deposits and expenditure
A particular share of the revenue collection during pilgrimage season will be kept as a short term fixed deposit to meet the expenses till next pilgrimage season. This mode of deposit is being practiced since 20 years.
In 2017, TDB recorded a deposit of Rs 194 crore. But in the pilgrimage season in 2018, only Rs 116 crore was reserved as fixed deposit.
As per Section 25 of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Act, 1950, the government has raised the annual grant to the TDB from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 80 lakh in 2003. TDB official’s report observed that an annual grant of Rs 80 lakh is not at all justifiable to meet the expenses of the temples under TDB.