HR and CE corpus used for free food offer by temples during pandemic
With signs of lockdown extension making the rounds among political circles, the state government has passed orders to transfer the funds of the HR & CE Department to temples that are now providing free food for those affected during the lockdown.
The free annadhanam provided by the temples will now continue till June 6, a press statement from the Secretariat said.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister PK Sekar Babu has instructed the department higher officials to monitor the funds of temples that are providing free annadhanams. Based on the reports that 349 temples have exhausted their funds, the Minister has ordered the diversion of funds from the HR &CE corpus to the temples so that the ongoing free food distribution continues across the state, the release said adding that a fund of Rs 2.51 crore will be provided to the TN temples for annadhanams.
The state has been spending heavily for feeding the public affected by lockdown and more corpus is required to run the Amma canteens and the state-sponsored kitchens, a senior official said.
The issue is that the revenue generation of temples and temple tourism had adversely affected due to COVID spread and it will take at least two more months for normalcy to return. The corporate firms should support the temples and the cash-starved local bodies to continue their operations during the COVID-induced lockdown, the official said.
It may be noted that the state BJP had requested the state to seek funds from other religious institutions run by minorities so that the annadhanam scheme can serve more beneficiaries.