Thiruvananthapuram: Covid-19 has struck the Kerala temples' revenue hard. The state of affairs of temples is pretty bad, says N.Vasu, the president of Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) expressing concern over payment of salaries to its staff.
In the state budget, a sum of Rs 100 crore has been set aside for the TDB, of which Rs 30 crore has already been given to them and now they are expecting to get the remaining and another Rs 100 crores in addition, so as to help them to tide over their difficult times.
The TDB headquartered in the state capital owns 1,248 temples in the southern districts of the state, including the famed Sabarimala temple. Following the coronavirus outbreak that gave way to the nation-wide lockdown, all its temples were shut for the devotees, since March 21.
The TDB has on its roll about 5,000 employees and 4,000 pensioners and while they managed to pay all of them in April, Vasu said things might get tougher in the coming months as expenses remain the same while the revenue has been badly affected.
"We require about Rs 10 crores for the conduct of the pujas, though the temple is closed for devotees," said Vasu.
TDB's biggest earner is the Sabarimala temple. It opens every month for a few days. This time around with the Vishu festivities cancelled -- that is one of the largest crowd puller for the Lord Ayyappa shrine -- amid the lockdown period, created another dent and left the TDB poorer by around Rs 40 crores.
"Never before has such a thing happened," lamented Vasu.