Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) – To meet the regular expenses, Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to mortgage the Sabarimala temple’s gold at reserve bank. Corona pandemic has stopped the earning of temple and so the interest gained on gold mortgage would be used for the daily expenditure. Accordingly the board has started counting gold received from the devotees to 1,250 temples listed under the board. The board is planning to mortgage 100 Kg. gold. Earlier Tirupati Temple Trust and Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Sansthan Trust have also mortgaged the gold similarly. The interest incurred out of this is non-taxable.
N. Vasu, the president of the Board said,
- The plan is to mortgage gold at Reserve Bank under the Gold Monetization Scheme. There is possibility of mortgaging more than 1000 Kg. gold. 2.5% interest amounting to Rs. 10 crore can be incurred through this. However this amount would be insufficient to meet our expenditure.
- 5,000 employees work in our temples. We have to pay salary of these employees as well as pension to 4,000 retired employees. Rs. 10 crore are required for the rituals. We have been at loss of Rs. 300 crore due to corona pandemic.
- Sabarimala temple is the highest earning temple under the Board amounting to 350 crore; the corona pandemic has however caused to stop this income. Government had promised us to give Rs. 100 crore. We have as of now received Rs. 50 crore.
- We are seeking permission of Kerala High Court in order to mortgage the gold. The entire process would require 2-3 months.
- The jewellery of the Idol and traditional jewellery would not be mortgaged. The money would be raised only on the gold donated by devotees.