Other side of the Jawalamukhi Shrine

Jawalamukhi TempleJwalamukhi – With the increase of political interference and over increasing non-planned expenditure, the financial position of the famous shrine of Jwalamukhi has gone bad to worse.

It may be recalled that state government on its part had taken over the said shrine through an ordinance bill 20 years back. Ever since its provincialization, state government has claimed that there is considerable improvement in the management of the shrine. However, as a matter of fact, the reality is different, entire set-up has under gone several changes. The trustees of the Temple are nominated in political consideration instead on the strength of their distinction, in public life. Rather there is waste of several lakh rupees on the reception of VIP’s coming invariably to make obeisance to the Deity. It is a common practice that unqualified persons are deputed to perform religious duties in the shrine.

However, the state government and its Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh have made tall claims that considerable improvement has been made in the present regime. All the more it has never been a strong advocate to give fillip to temple tourism.

But the other side of the picture is different as the said religious sanctuary is having offerings to the tune of millions annually. But lion share of the offerings allegedly goes into the pockets of traditional barridars and employees in a clandestine manner. It is quite sorrowful that none could effectively check this malpractice even after 20 years of the take over of the temple. In the absence of effective policies non-planned expenditure is increasing against the total income. Due to this all development works have not only been abandoned, but it also has perceptibly affected the traditional religious performances of the shrine. Moreover, a major portion of the offerings is spent on the official reception of the VIP guests. People at large have started taking strong exception to this practice.

Resentment also prevails against the provision under which traditional Baridars have been entitled for 40% share of the offerings. Certain Baridars are also on the pay role of the Temple Trust, simultaneously. As such they are getting a double benefit. In view of the above, people are of the view that a suitable amendment to this effect is required to be made in Hindu religious places and endowment Act on the pattern of Vaishnoo Devi shrine Board.

Photo by Judgescourt

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