November 21, 2016
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Commissioner K Veera Shanmuga Moni has reportedly ordered temple authorities to report hundi collections across 36,000 temples in Tamil Nadu on a day to day basis.
The contingency measure was put in place after the recent meeting convened by Moni in Chennai with joint commissioners and assistant commissioners (executive officers), as the popular temples, such as Samayapuram Mariamman temple, Palani Thandayuthapani temple and the rest of Arupadai Veedugal temples, registered a record hundi collection thanks to demonitisation measures.
“Thankfully, the Hindu temples across the state are brimming with cash offerings and it has necessitated an order to open and count the collections immediately and without waiting for the monthly schedule, as is the norm,” said a senior HR&CE official.
Hundi collections touch a high during the peak Sabarimala season, from November to January, and other festival seasons, such as Aadi amavasya and Pradosham. The summer vacation months (May, June) also contribute a spike in temple revenues, as the foot falls of devotees rise dramatically.
During the normal course of the year, hundi collections are opened and accounts taken on a monthly basis in popular temples and on a bi-monthly basis in lesser known temples. The hundi collections help run the temple administration, and to meet salaries of temple employees and annadanam (food offerings) expenses and it is counted and deposited in a temple bank account.
“Demonetisation has come as a boon in a way. The Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes deposited in big chunks will help temples run the annadhanam scheme smoothly,” said a senior HR&CE official.
The Marudamalai Subramanya swami temple hundi collection was Rs 16 lakhs when it was last opened for the Tamil Puratasi month collection in October 28; it is expected to double this time around when we open it on November 30, said an official attached to the temple.
The Patteeshwaram temple in Perur and the Arulmigu Echanari Vinayagar temple in Coimbatore are bracing themselves for a bumper hundi collection this time around, said a HR&CE official.