Govt. loot in Ayodhya Ram Mandir

published on August 31, 2010

Inflation hits bhog, aarti at Ram Lalla temple
Biswajeet Banerjee | Lucknow – Daily Pioneer

As the nation awaits the Allahabad High Court’s verdict on the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit with bated breath, the pujaris of the makeshift Ram Lalla temple have approached the authorities with their own woes.

The chief priest of the makeshift temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi complex — Satyendra Dass — has written to the Faizabad Commissioner to increase the maintenance amount for the temple and sought a hike in the salaries of the priests.

“It is no longer possible to carry out puja with Rs 43,600 per month. Prices of every thing — from desi ghee to flowers — have gone up. The Commissioner should increase the amount at the earliest,” Dass told The Pioneer here on Tuesday.

The makeshift temple of Ram Lalla was built at Ram Janmabhoomi complex in 1992. Since then, puja is being carried out there on a regular basis.

The chief purohit gets a cheque of Rs 43,600 per month from the Faizabad Commissioner who is also administrator of this makeshift temple. The money is used for bhog of Ram Lalla and daily aarti. This money is also used to pay salaries to the temple staff that includes one chief purohit, four assistant purohits and four helpers.

The chief purohit gets a salary of Rs 5,000 per month while the salaries of other purohits and staff are between Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,100. In a rough estimate, almost Rs 23,000 goes into salaries per month.

“Ram Lalla is offered bhog three times a day, besides being given the peda bhog twice. This is followed by five aartis per day. The bhog is prepared with desi ghee. Even aarti is carried out with desi ghee. With prices of essential commodities skyrocketing, it is not possible to manage the things anymore,” Dass said.

Interestingly, the maintenance amount of Rs 43,600 is paid from the donations collected in four daan paatras (donation boxes) placed in the makeshift temple. It is believed that almost Rs 1.50 lakh is collected every month. This money goes to the Government treasury and every month the chief purohit gets a cheque of Rs 43,600.

It is not that the purohits are seeking a raise in their salaries and for running the temple administration for the first time.

Dass admits that their salaries and maintenance amount is increased periodically, and that last raise he got was almost two years ago. “It is high time that our salaries as well as maintenance amount of the makeshift temple should increase,” Dass said.

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