Chattarpur (Madhya Pradesh), June 9 : With no signs of rains for last four years, the Rain Gods have certainly not been kind to people in Madhya Pradesh's Chattarpur district in Bundelkhand region. And, among the most affected are local temples.
There are a huge number of temples existing in the Chattarpur area.
either the devotees nor the government are in a condition to support the priests or temples to perform rituals in the worship of the presiding deities.
These temples in Chattarpur are officially under the control of Madhya Pradesh government.
The entire property of the temple, as well as, the land around it is often given out on lease for a year for agricultural and other purposes to meet the expenses of the temple. But with no rainfall for the last few years, nobody has come forth to take the lands on lease. And, this has badly affected the money for the temples.
Earlier, the lands adjoining around a thousand temples in Chhattarpur area were given on lease to farmers for cultivation. And, the earnings against the leased out land were used for the rituals performed in the temples.
But now the drought-like scenario has discouraged farmers from putting their money at stake, especially on land.
The priests say they cannot perform Puja and the rituals for the simple reason that they are not able to fend for themselves.
"Nobody is eager to take our lands. The government too is not giving us anything. How would we serve our temple and Gods," said Khat Khat Babaji, a temple priest.
Residents too are helpless due to drought conditions.
"We have to go here and there and beg food. But still we remain hungry. There is nothing to eat. No body takes the land on lease. People from the neighbourhood give us food. We have got no help from the government. We seek help," said Mangal Singh, a resident of Chhattarpur.
The Sub-Divisional Officer of the area, has a different viewpoint.
"There have been no rains in Chhattarpur District for three years. So the land, which was given out for agriculture, is not being done anymore. We try and give compensation to the priests. We also give money for temple food. That is how we cater to their expenses," said R. N. Khare, the Sub Divisional Officer of Chhattarpur.
With the BJP-led State government in power that often maintains a pro-Hindu political stand, it is expected of the government to extend some real help for the temples around in the name of God. By Narender Singh Parmar