Invaluable riches found in the vaults of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here are not public property, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has reiterated.

Addressing newspersons here on Friday, he said that the precious ornaments, jewels and artefacts discovered are the temple’s own property.

COURT DECISION

He sought to dismiss interpretations to the contrary from various quarters, including the opposition Left Democratic Front.

The stated position of the State Government is that these riches must continue to stay where they currently are and have always been.

A final decision in the matter should come from the Supreme Court, which is seized of the matter, and nowhere else, the Chief Minister said. The State Government has stated in the apex court that it would abide by the court ruling.

Chandy went on to pay rich tributes to the royal family of erstwhile Travancore for having ensured the safe custody of the riches down the decades.

AMICUS CURIAE

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has expressed concern at shortcomings in maintenance of the temple after a bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice A.K. Patnaik examined a report submitted by amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium.

Subramanium had submitted the 93-page report on the conditions in the temple and had given 87 suggestions. They mainly dealt with improving maintenance, strengthening of the vaults and perpetuation of religious rituals.

An inventory had been completed in two of the five vaults. The bench directed that the vaults be strengthened to ensure safe custody of its precious contents.

RATION SUBSIDY

The Chief Minister said that the payment of ration subsidy through bank accounts for above poverty line (APL) category would be implemented from January 1, 2013.

Those who manage to furnish their bank account details would be eligible to claim their subsidy cash entitlements from January onwards, Chandy added.

The bank route for payments was being opted since open market prices for rice have not flinched despite the Government spending Rs 750 crore on subsidy, he added.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 9, 2012)
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