Temple priests on agitation in AP
Hyderabad, Apr 26 (UNI) Temple priests today resorted to agitation at the Endowments Commissioner's office to highlight their demands, including scrapping of the amendment to the Endowments Act 30 of 87.
Talking to newspersons here Andhra Pradesh Archaka Samakhya Vice President M V Soundara Rajan said the Act turned temples into centres of political activity and transformed the Archakas (Priests) into mere slaves of the endowments department officials.
Dr Rajan said the priests were also opposed to the sale of temple lands. The temple trustees must be allowed to be selected by the priests.
He said they were opposed to the proposal to hand-over temples with an annual income of less than Rs three lakh to the local bodies. The salaries of archakas should be paid either from the treasury or through national banks, he added.
Endowments Commissioner sought one month time for resolving the grievances of the priests.
Talking to newspersons later, Panchayat Raj and Endowments Minister J C Diwakar Reddy said the government only proposed to sell temple lands that were not yielding any income through public auctions.
He assured the priests that the amount received from sale of lands, would be deposited in banks and the interest would be used for the running of that temple. He allayed fears that the amount would be used for other activities.
On the demand of the priests for revision of their pay scales, the minister said the Government would appoint a Pay Revision Commission to look into the need for revision of the pay scales of temple priests.
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