'No plans to bring mutts under govt purview'

Muzrai Minister Prakash B Hukkeri on Wednesday said the State government had no plans to bring religious mutts under its purview.

His statement came in the wake of Opposition leader D V Sadananda Gowda seeking a clarification in the Legislative Council on whether the government was planning to bring mutts under its control.

Referring to Congress leader Janardhan Poojary’s comments on mutts, at Udupi on Tuesday, Gowda alleged a conspiracy on the part of the government in this regard. BJP MLC Monappa Bhandary too sought to know whether the government had any such intention.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Poojary had demanded a clarification from the chief minister whether or not the government wanted to bring mutts under its purview. He had opposed such a move saying religious mutts such as the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur and Adichunchanagiri Mutt were doing public service and the government should not interfere in the internal affairs of mutts.

In a written reply to Bhandary’s query, Hukkeri stated that bringing mutts under the ambit of the government was not permissible under the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act.

Unsatisfied with reply

Gowda, who was not satisfied with the reply, said, “There is a difference between the Act permitting it and the government's intention to bring mutts under the purview of the Act.” To this, Hukkeri reiterated that the government had no intention of taking over mutts. 

He said the government has also decided to extend financial assitance to temples which do not fall under the Muzrai department. For this purpose, Rs 40 lakh will be allocated to every Assembly constituency.

The minister was responding to a question by MLC S R Leela (BJP), who urged the government to appoint priests in temples in rural areas, as several temples in villages required maintenance. 

There are 34,453 temples under the Muzrai department classified into A, B and C categories depending on their annual revenue. The A category temples have an annual revenue of up to Rs 25 lakh and above; the B category temples have a revenue of Rs five lakh and above and below Rs 25 lakh. In 2012-13, the government had allocated Rs 236.59 crore for A and B category temples. There are 295 such temples.

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