‘Plan finalized’ for temple treasure evaluation

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on September 6, 2011

National Museum Institute vice-chancellor CV Ananda Bose, head of the five-member experts’ panel appointed by the Supreme Court for the scientific evaluation of the treasures found in the cellars of Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, said on Tuesday that the second phase of assessment of the value of the treasures would start soon.

After a joint meeting of the experts’ committee and the three-member supervisory panel, also appointed by the apex court, at Thiruvananthapuram, Ananda Bose said that a final plan for the evaluation of the valuable articles found in five of the six secret chambers in the temple complex had been drawn up.

A seven-member committee, which had earlier carried out an examination of the of the gold, precious stones, rare coins and other articles held in the five cellars of the temple, had put their approximate value at over Rs 100,000 crore putting the shrine in the position of the richest among Hindu worship places in the world.

The most crucial issue before the five-member panel is the examination of Vault B, second of the six cellars, which the erstwhile Travancore royal family, the traditional trustees of the shrine, Hindu outfits and the community of worshippers are opposing.

However, the Supreme Court is expected to make its observation on all matters when it takes the issue up on September 12.

Meanwhile, the report the Ananda Bose committee had submitted in the Supreme Court asked for a year’s time to complete the process of examination, evaluation and documentation of the treasures.

The committee had also said that it would need an allocation of Rs 2.98 crore to meet the expenses of evaluation of the treasures. It would also need additional manpower for the documentation and evaluation of the treasures as the apex court had ordered scientific assessment and videography of the articles.

This money was to be provided by the temple or the Kerala Government, it said. The panel also reported that it had visited the five cellars that had already been examined and had come to the conclusion that the plastic bags and iron boxes in which the treasures had been kept would have to be replaced with teakwood boxes for faultless preservation.

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