By Sharon Thambala
Bengaluru, Aug 6 (IANS) As much as 50 to 60 per cent of revenue loss is being reported by Karnataka temples due to lack of footfalls and it cannot be reversed unless things turn normal again, said an official on Thursday.
“No, you can’t. Every sector has been in some amount of financial loss. There is no way you can cover it. It just has to get back to normal. A loss is a loss,” told Hindu Religious Institutions Charitable Endowment Department Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri to IANS.
Sindhuri was speaking about whether there was any strategy for the government to cover the revenue shortfall in thousands of temples in the state because offerings have been missed for weeks together.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the multiple lockdowns have led to shutting down of all religious places for several weeks and when they eventually reopened the temples did not see the pre-Covid type devote hustle and bustle, drying up their coffers.
Though Sinduri said the estimated loss would be in the range of 50 to 60 per cent, she has admitted that the exact loss would be difficult to count.
“We have not computed it in that manner. Only that the footfalls have fallen drastically, 50 – 60 per cent less (revenue). If you see the major temples, proportionately the revenue also fell by 50 – 60 per cent,” she said.
Similarly, the endowments department has also not compared the revenue loss vis-A-vis last year to arrive at a particular figure.
The commissioner clarified that they cannot arrive at a figure.
According to Sindhuri, temple revenue is generally calculated from the offerings earned through sevas and hundis (offering box).
The department also offers e-seva booking at seven temples, as listed on its official website.
They are Sri Kolluru Mookambhika, Kukke Sri Subramanya, Nanjangud Sri Srikanteshwara, Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysuru, Renuka Yellamma Devi Temple, Belagavi, Sri Kateel Durga Parameshwari and Sri Banashankari Temple, Bengaluru.
Likewise, there is no custom as such that all the hundis will be opened on a particular day.
“Because of the pandemic and all we have not opened it (hundis) in many temples, that itself is an exercise. You have to open, you have people and cameras, so none of those exercises have been done,” observed Sindhuri.
She clarified that all the temples are open currently at the state level but there may be some temples closed down temporarily for some local reason or custom.
“Right now all the temples are open. Except in some districts, if there is a fair or something going on and they decide not to… Locally some are closed, at the state level all are open,” she said.
After more than two months, temples in Karnataka re-opened their doors to devotees on June 1.
As many as 34,558 temples in the southern state, including Karnataka State Choultries at Tirumala and Mantralaya in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, are managed by the department.
(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at [email protected])