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Pay Revision Commission scales for archakas, other temple staff

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source: The Hindu, Apr 27, 2006

Government accepts major demands; move to appoint philanthropists on trusts

  • Monetary benefits to accrue only from April 1, 2005
  • Endowments Act to be amended during next Assembly session
  • Mass transfer of employees defended

  • HYDERABAD: Bowing to the demands of agitating archakas, the Government has decided to implement pay scales of the Pay Revision Commission of 2005 for them and the secular staff of the temples in the State, numbering about two lakhs.

    Endowments Commissioner A. B. Krishna Reddy signed papers here on Wednesday to revise the salaries of the temple staff with retrospective effective from July 1, 2003. Monetary benefits will, however, accrue only from April 1, 2005.

    Ritual performed

    "This should meet a majority of the archakas' demands," Endowments Minister J. C. Diwakar Reddy announced at a press conference after the archakas performed a "sarpa digbandham" near the Endowments Commissioner's office on Tilak Road.

    Announcing another key decision, the Minister said the Endowments Act would be amended during the next Assembly session for appointment of philanthropists on the temple trusts instead of politicians. By other changes to the Act, temples with meagre or nil income would be taken out of the purview of Executive Officers and handed over to archakas for better management.

    Mr. Reddy denied that the Government had plans to sell away all temples lands. He appealed to the public to provide details about temple lands still unidentified. Such tip-offs would be rewarded with Rs. 250 per acre in case of dry and Rs. 500 for wet land while Rs. 5,000 will be paid for lands in the urban areas. A cell would be set up in the department for the purpose.

    No farm land sale

    The Minister said that agriculture land belonging to temples would not be put up for sale. Only urban lands, that too those locked in litigation or encroached and which was yielding no revenue, would be disposed of through auction.

    He explained that large pieces of land in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad gifted to different temples were found encroached.

    There was no way to save them as buildings had come up on them.

    The only alternative was to auction them and deposit the proceeds in bank in the name of the temples concerned.

    Mr. Reddy justified the mass transfer of the Endowments staff.

    Each of the 609 employees marked for shifting had served for decades at one place and developed vested interests.

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