Proposal to set up Authority for Kollur Mookambika temple

The proposal to set up  Kollur Mookambika Development Authority (KMDA) has been submitted to the endowment commissioner.

The authority would aim comprehensive development of the temple and the surrounding areas, besides controlling the rampant irregularities in the temple administration.

A highly placed source in the district administration told DH that setting up of KMDA is inevitable due to the irregularities reported in the temple as well as in the accumulation, transactions and maintenance of gold, silver and funds.

Kollur Mookambika temple is the second richest temple in the state, next only to Kukke Subrahmanya Temple. It earns nearly a turnover of Rs 70 crore annually (Kukke Subramnaya Temple’s annual turnover is Rs 100 crore).

But it is not spared from irregularities, especially in terms of gold and silver articles that are being donated by the devotees.

The temple receives about five to six kg of gold in the form of offerings every year. There has been no proper cataloguing, indexing and other security facilities to the gold and silver valuables that are being collected in the temple.

The Endowment Department has requested Rs 3.5 lakh and a retired official for a period of three months to take up cataloguing and indexing of the gold. Plans have been chalked out to document all the gold and silver articles in 10 catalogues and associate with the nationalised banks for the counters.

The source said the
KMDA would ensure the appropriate maintenance of gold and silver donations offered by the devotees. In a recent theft in the temple, 48 articles of gold and silver weighing 3172.70 grams were misplaced and the main accused was found to be the temple service counter employee Shivaram.

The misplacing and misappropriation has taken place in the period between 2012 and 2016 and the scam was brought to light only this year. The police have recovered 2243.890 grams of gold. In this, the temple has received 32 articles and another two would be procured following the filing of the affidavit before the court.

The temple owns more than 1,680 and odd gold articles which are donated from 1960 onwards. The police are yet to recover 420 grams of gold.

It is learnt that the police have failed to unearth the scam seriously and the suspects are at the loose end due to political pressure. The matter has been left mid way. It is also said that only the official section was targeted and not the people in the temple committee.

The CCTV cameras have not been introduced anywhere in the service counters. It is said the main belief among the devotees is that the guilty of any sin could be overcome by offering gold to the Goddess in Kollur. Hence there is massive collection of gold in the temple.

The Endowment Department is said to be unable to strictly invigilate the financial and gold transactions in the temple due to severe staff shortage.

The people who were in-charge of the temple administration have continued in
the service even after the scam was reported, it is learnt.

The proposal of KMDA is planned keeping in view of Tirumala Tirupati Development Authority, where the offerings from the devotees are maintained and managed
by the officials through various bank counters. The irregularities are part of the temple administration and previously  three such incidents were reported involving the people at the service counter. But the irregularities were ignored and it has resulted in the massive scam.

Besides, the development works taken up by the district administration has also been halted midway as the Forest Department is not willing to permit  development activities in some areas which come under its jurisdiction.

The drinking water and underground drainage works have been taken up at a cost of Rs 70 crore recently, the source added.

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