The Kerala High Court, on Thursday, 19 January, directed the vigilance wing of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to ascertain whether there were any lapses in the counting of donation packets and currency notes at Sabarimala Sannidhanam during the two-month-long pilgrimage season and file a report.
A bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar issued the direction in the wake of news reports that due to the non-counting of money in offering or donation packets, the currency notes in the same became soiled and unusable.
The court had also called for a report from the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala regarding the counting of ‘Kanikka‘ (donations/monetary offerings) at the hilltop shrine during the ongoing pilgrimage season which will conclude on 19 January and the temple will be closed on 20 January.
In his report, the special commissioner has said that during the current festival season, huge quantities of currency notes and coins were offered as ‘Kanikka‘ by devotees at various offering boxes at Sabarimala Sannidhanam.
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Counting coins will take time
“Though counting of currency notes and packets containing offerings is going on at the new Bhandaram (coffer) and the old Bhandaram, it is anticipated that the counting of coins which are put in three large heaps in the new Bhandaram and will not be over even after the temple closes after Makaravilakku festival on 20 January.
“Due to lack of space, counting of coins was being carried out in a portion of the Annadhana Mandapam also,” it said.
The special commissioner also told the court that he would be carrying out an inspection of the currency counting and submitting another report on the present stage of the process.
The TDB, on 13 January, said ₹310.40 crore was generated by the shrine till 12 January, as part of the 2-month-long annual pilgrimage season.
“Out of the ₹310,40,97,309, a total of ₹231,55,32,006 was received during the ‘mandalam‘ season which ended on 27 December and ₹78,85,65,303 was generated during the ongoing ‘makaravilakku‘ festival which began on 30 December,” the board said.
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