70 pc of the silver offerings at Vaisnodevi impure, gold 22 pc

70 pc of the silver offerings at Vaisnodevi impure, gold 22 pc

Nearly 22 per cent of 193 kgs of gold offerings and 70 per cent of 8,163 kgs of silver offerings by devotees at Vaishnodevi shrine during last five years have been found to be "impure", according to the shrine board.

"78 per cent of 193.5 kg of yellow metal and 30 per cent of 8,163 kgs of white metal offered by devotees at cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi during last five years is pure gold and silver respectively," Chief Executive officer (CEO), Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), Mandeep Bhandari told PTI.

The official said the offerings are divided into yellow and white metal categories as their purity is unknown. While the yellow metal is sent to Indian Government Mint, Mumbai, the white metal is sent to Minerals Trading Corporation of India Ltd, Delhi for refining, assaying and fabrication.

Only 150.5 kg of pure gold was retrieved from the yellow metal offerings which constitutes 78 per cent of 193.5 kgs of yellow metal offered, CEO said, adding 43-kg of yellow metal was found to be impure.

Similarly, out of 8,163 kg of white metal offerings received by the shrine between 2008 to 2012, only 2,381 kg of silver was retrieved which constituted 30 per cent of total white metal.

Queried over an RTI reply, he said it can't be said the metal offerings were "fake".    "How can we know that offerings by the devotee are pure gold or silver or not. The offerings could be of anything and directly go to deposit chest after it is presented at cave."

During last five year, as many 193.5 kg of yellow metal and 8,163 kg of white metal was offered at the cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi, he said, adding that "we do not not call the offerings as Gold and Silver as offerings do-not carry a certification of its purity by the devotees".

"The chest (Dhan Patra) is opened and the offerings are sent to Mumbai and Delhi," he said.

After that precious metal offerings are converted by Indian Government Mint, Mumbai and Minerals Trading Corporation of India Ltd, Delhi into gold and silver coins which the devotees buy as souvenirs, he said.

The Vaishno Devi shrine is visited by over one crore devotees every year.

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