K'taka to splurge on rain gods for drought-relief

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Bangalore, Jul 21: As soon as Jagadish Shettar assumed office as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka, he was faced with the mammoth issue of drought in several parts of the state. Rather than tackling the problem with incentives for the hapless farmer, Shettar intends to appease the rain gods to find a solution to the problem.

According to reports, the Shettar government has directed 34,226 Muzrai temples in the state to perform special poojas on Jul 27 and Aug 2 to please the rain gods to provide showers to the rain-starved state. Lord Varuna (the rain god) will receive a cash infusion of Rs 17.11 crore where each temple will have to spend Rs 5,000 for the special pooja. The matter was communicated to all the temples through a circular from the revenue department (muzrai) on Thursday.

The special pooja consisting of the 'Varunamantra Poorvakavagi Jalabhisheka pooja' will also include a 'homa' and 'parjanya japa' to please the rain gods. The major temples that will conduct the poojas are the Kollur Mookambika, Kukke Subramanya, Kateel Durgaparameshwari and Srikantaswamy temple. The circular added that the pooja expenses should not exceed Rs 5000 and will have to be borne by the temple.

The government will, however, not provide any funds for the same. According to department officials, 123 temples have been classified as Group A temples (those earning a revenue of over Rs 25 lakh); 179 temples as Group B temples (those earning a revenue of Rs 5 lakh up to Rs 25 lakh); and 33,924 temples as Group C temples (those earning a revenue of less than Rs 5 lakh). The pooja will have to be conducted by all these temples.

In spite of repeated requests to the Centre seeking funds towards drought-relief, the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar still maintains that the country is still not anticipating a drought-like situation and was only facing a monsoon-deficiency.

Back in 2001, the SM Krishna government in the state had ordered similar poojas for rain when the state was facing severe drought. The same was repeated by the Yeddyurappa govt in 2009.

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