VELLORE: Devotees of Gangai Amman Temple in Gudiyattam plan to go on indefinite fast opposing the HR&CE Department’s plan to float e-tenders and conduct e-auction of shops to be set up during the annual festival.
The protest decision was announced by local village headman and former councilor RGS Sampath after meeting the Vellore Collector on Monday.
What irked devotees was that Gudiyattam Municipality recently passed a resolution seeking a part of the temple’s revenue and also stated that e-auction of shops would soon follow.
Sampath told DT Next, “When bigger temples in the same town do not follow e-auction and e-tenders for their annual festivals, why the HR&CE Department has singled us out on this. The annual festival of the bigger Porkodi Amman Temple - where department AC is the Thakkar – is set to begin next week, but no announcement or decision on e-auction there.”
“Similarly, the Easwaran Temple which celebrates its annual festival on May 11 has also not been brought under this system,” added lawyer Nanda Kumar. The Gangai Amman Temple festival is due only on May 15, he added.
Devotees’ resistance to such measures was seen in the two agitations which were conducted on April 18 and 27. “During the latter agitation we besieged the municipal office following which officials, at the peace committee meeting the same day promised to withdraw the local body’s resolutions. However, as nothing has been done till now we came to meet Vellore Collector Kumaravel Pandian,” Saravanan, temple committee member said. Houses in the vicinity of the temple also hoisted black flags to show their opposition to the official move.
However, the temple delegation was taken aback when the Collector “asked us to go to court and get an order against instituting e-tender and e-auction,” Sampath said. “We hoped for justice from the Collector as he is the district magistrate, but as our plea failed we plan to go on an indefinite fast soon. A temple committee consisting of members and devotees will decide on the date shortly,” Sampath added.
Gudiyattam Municipal chairman Soundararajan when asked said that though nearly 200 shops are set up during the festival, only Rs 1.50 lakh is shown as revenue from the exercise. As temple committee refused to heed our demands we informed the Minister who suggested the e-auction/e-tender method. The local body provides all facilities, but gets nothing in return monetarily, he added.