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Rs 1,000 crores to Temples, a big boost towards restoration

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has announced proposing Rs 1,000 crores towards comprehensive development and renovation of temples and various religious Mutts spread across the state in the state budget. In fact, this is not for the first time that a budgetary provision is being made for the improvement, renovation and restoration of old, ancient and heritage temples.

Increase by Rs 425 crores: In comparision to the previous year’s allocation for the same purpose, the amount has been enhanced to Rs 425 crores which by any measure is a giant leap. The higher proportion is also no big a surprise as the chief minister also happens to be the finance minister. Maybe the trend Northward was expected this time but perhaps, not to such an extent. Although Rs 1,000 crores has been announced for the improvement and development of temples, there is no clear cut plan on the way it will be utilized.

BSY lays down the practice: Releasing monetary benefit to the religious institutions and more so to the Hindu religious ones was hitherto unheard of by the earlier regimes of the state. The new tradition was laid down when BS Yediyurappa during his stint as Deputy Chief Minister of the state in 2008. It was also during the first BJP alliance government with the Janata Dal Secular under a 20-20 month’s pact.

 Hue and cry over the development: BS Yediyurappa continued the populist trend after he became a chief minister for four different tenures. The opposition parties led by the Congress tried in vain to raise a hue and cry over the issue. But in the bargain more and more religious Mutts became beneficiaries’.

Not in budget, but in reply to budget discussion: In March 2011, BS Yediyurappa as Chief Minister and Finance Minister presented his budget without any mention about grants to the Mutts. But, during his reply to the discussion over budget in the Assembly. For the year 2011-12, Rs 20 crores was provided for religious institutions. However, the same went up to Rs 110 crores during the year 2012-13. Siddaramaiah, the then leader of the opposition in Assembly criticized the measure of allotting public money to private religious institutions.

Funds to Mutts become debatable issue: Apart from resistance by the opposition the subject also became a hot topic in the media and social networking platforms for a pretty long period of time. Just like on such occasions, there were any number of them who hailed the government’s decision and likewise there was no dearth of people who made it a pretext to admonish the party, government and BS Yediyurappa personally.

BSY releases Rs 300 crores in 34 months: DV Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, subsequent chief ministers following the exit of BS Yediyurappa also continued the practice of releasing financial aid to the religious Mutts. Jagadish Shettar granted over Rs 250 crores to establishments run by religious institutions in the budget for 2013-14. He had also mentioned that Rs 125 crores will be provided for hostels, educational institutions and community institutions run by various Mutts. BS Yediyurappa in his 34 months tenure earlier had released Rs 300 crores.

Continuation of BSY legacy: In a way, Basavaraj Bommai’s magnanimous gesture and pronouncement of sanctioning Rs 1,000 crores in the state budget for repair, maintenance and restoration of temples in the state is no new phenomenon. In other words it is nothing else but continuation of the legacy laid down by BS Yediyurappa, ever since the BJP came to power, right from the alliance government days.

Ram Mandir in Ramadevera Betta: The state budget has also made provision for coming up of a majestic Ram Mandir on the picturesque Ramadevara (Ram God) Betta (Hillock) in Ramanagara district. Dr CN Ashwathnarayan, Higher Education Minister and Ramanagar district in charge Minister had been lobbying for the same since quite time. Interestingly, although the project gets a mention in the budget no specific allocation is being found on record.

Anjanadri Hill gets Rs 100 crores: However, on the other hand Anjanadri Hill pilgrimage centre in Koppal district has been given Rs 100 crores for overall development and to develop it into an sought after tourist place. Anjanadri Hill is renowned for the Lord Hanuman temple situated on the hill. The devotees have believed it to be the birth place of the Lord Anjaneya. Both, these projects, construction of Ram Mandir on Ramadevara Betta in Ramanagara district and Anjanadri Hill development are construed to projects complimentary to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Development Projects galore: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, in the election eve budget has also announced several other projects relating to many historical and religious places. Some of them include implementation of permanent facility development scheme for Anjanadri Betta, Chamundi Betta, Hampi monuments development and Mysuru exhibition authority. An amount of Rs 60 crores has proposed for the development of Hampi Vijaya Vittala Temple, Gol Gumbaz of Vijayapura, Bhoganandishwara Temple at the foothills of Nandi Hills in Chikkaballapur district, Badami caves in Bagalkot district, Kittur Fort in Belagavi district and Bidar Fort in Bidar district.

Rs Five crores for the development of Samadhi:
The Chief Minister has also proposed Rs Five crores for development of the Samadhi of Sant Sevalal in Suragondanakoppa. Sant Sevalal happens to be a revered religious personality of the tribal Lambani (Banjara) community in the state. He has also drawn plans for setting up of the Chennabairadevi memorial garden in Honnavar on the Western coast. Rs Five crores have also been proposed for the development of Shahaji Maharaj, Samadhi in Hoodigere of the state. As is well known, Shahaji Maharaj happened to be the father of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Development of several Temple Complexes: It has also been proposed all round development of several temple complexes and they include the Sannati-Chandralamba Temple, Ganagapur Dattatreya Temple, Banavasi Madhukeshwara Temple. A tourist circuit has also been planned with Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, architect of the old Bengaluru connecting the Ramadevara Betta. Rs 20 crores have also been set aside for the development and protection of the historically famous Malkhed Fort.

-Manohar Yadavatti


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