Eyeing higher donation income to the revered Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling to study the trust administrations of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (Balaji shrine) and Shirdi Sai Baba.
Tirupati and Shirdi shrines are among the richest temple trusts in India with donations running into several hundred crores of rupees. The donations include both cash and valuables such as gold. In comparison, the annual donations to Kashi Vishwanath come to a paltry Rs 4-5 crore.
Chairing a financial and administration review meeting of Kashi Vishwanath yesterday, UP minister of state (independent charge) for religious affairs Vijay Kumar Mishra directed officials to install donation boxes and ‘hundus’ in the Varanasi temple on the pattern of Tirupati Balaji and Shirdi temple trusts. He directed to commission a study of these trusts for this purpose.
Mishra directed that the temple trust should ensure that counting of donation was done under the vigil of close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, so that every penny could be accounted for.
Meanwhile, he asked officials for physical verification of the Trust properties and collation of details of its properties located in other states. Illegal occupants of trust properties would be evicted.
The Trust would further apprise the state government of buildings coming under the purview of the temple Master Plan.
The minister said it should be ensured no other bank account in the name of Kashi Vishwanath Temple was opened in Varanasi district.
Besides, he said official website of the Kashi Vishwanath temple should be constructed and the facility of ‘on line darshan’ to devotees be facilitated. Steps would be taken to upload the history of Kashi Vishwanath temple on the web.
UP principal secretary religious endowment Navneet Sehgal has directed the staff for the Trust would be sourced from Sainik Kalyan Nigam.