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360 kg gold jewels from temples monetised to generate revenue

HR&CE department to utilise funds to improve facilities for devotees

360 kg gold jewels from temples monetised to generate revenue

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CHENNAI: The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department has converted more than 360 kg of gold jewels from five temples under the decades-old gold monetisation scheme to generate revenue of more than Rs 4 crore annually. It would be utilised to enhance the facilities for the devotees.

The department, on September 4, monetised 168.68 kg of gold jewels offered by devotees to Subramaniya Swamy temple in Tiruchendur. The rough estimate of the gold jewels is Rs 99.77 crore.

The jewels were melted and converted into 24-carat gold bars and deposited in the State Bank of India under the revamped Gold Deposit Scheme. It would fetch an annual interest to the tune of Rs 2.25 crore.

This was in addition to the monetisation of gold jewels weighing 194.322 kg from four temples, fetching an annual interest of Rs 2.06 crore. “

The exercise was part of the scheme, which was launched by the Tamil Nadu government in 1979. It aimed at converting small pieces of golden ornaments like earrings, and nose studs offered by devotees into gold bars to monetise them.

The gold bars are deposited in nationalised banks and the revenue generated through interest for the same is used for the repair and renovation of the temples and improvement of the facilities for the devotees, according to HR & CE department officials.

The scheme, which was dormant for nearly 10 years in the AIADMK regime, was relaunched on October 13 last year. The department constituted three zone-wise experts’ committees headed by retired HC judges to assess the gold jewel offerings and segregate the jewels that fit the scheme.

“Big jewels will be used to adorn the presiding deities during festivals and auspicious occasions, while the small and stone-fitted jewels will be kept for the monetisation scheme. The entire process of segregating the jewels will be documented and videographed to ensure transparency,” said a senior official.

He added that the department, until 2010, had monetised gold ornaments weighing 497 kg from nine major temples, including Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Tiruchendur Subramaniya Swamy Temple, and Samayapuram Mariamman Temple. It generated revenue in the form of interest around Rs 11 crore per year.

Shanmugha Sundaram J
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