Tension in TDB escalates

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on March 1, 2008

Situation in the Travancore Devaswom Board deteriorated further with CPI-nominated board member P Narayanan alleging that Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran was creating problems with his ill-intentioned interventions in board affairs even as the Dewaswom secretary rejected the order from Dewaswom Principal Secretary K Jayakumar’ to pay the pending salaries of the Vigilance officials.

Narayanan, who has been on the path of confrontation with Sudhakaran and CPI (M)-nominated TDB president CK Guptan from the very day of the constitution of the three-member board, said on Saturday that Sudhakaran had intervened in the board affairs to recommend the award of contract for manufacture of Aravana at Sabarimala to a company blacklisted by the Devaswom Board. He said he had proofs of this and these would be presented in the High Court. Narayanan added that the board would function smoothly once Sudhakaran stopped his interventions.

Sudhakaran said in Kannur that the CPI nominee on the board was in effect an RSS activist. “Narayanan is in a Left party, but he is actually a right-winger,” Sudhakaran said referring to Narayanan’s statement that he would drag the Minister to the court.

“Be it Narayanan, Guptan or P Sumathikkutty Amma (RSP nominee on the board), the Devaswom Board should function as the Government wishes it to function. If a problem comes up, it is I who should be responsible,” Sudhakaran said. Meanwhile, the Dewaswom secretary rejected the order from Dewaswom Principal Secretary K Jayakumar’ to pay the pending salaries of the Vigilance officials. Devaswom Vigilance officials were denied their salaries as board members Narayanan and Sumathikutty Amma dened their deputation from the State police on the ground that the appointments were not cleared by them.

The Vigilance officers faced the wrath of the members as they had interrogated the junior priests at Sabarimala temple following complaints that they were collecting money for issue of holy black threads to pilgrims. Minister Sudhakaran had immediately requested Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan to intervene in the issue, following which a Vigilance probe was initiated.

At the same time, TDB president Guptan contradicted member Narayanan’s statement against Sudhakaran saying the Dewaswom Minister or his office had never intervened in the day-to-day affairs of the board.

Meanwhile, a State executive meeting of the Ayyappa Seva Yuvajana Sangham asked the Government to immediately dismiss the Dewaswom Board. It said that the board, which had toppled the preparations for the Mahasivaratri festival at several temples, had no right to continue in office.

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