Thiruvananthapuram: With COVID-19 pandemic seriously affecting the income of temples, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is planning to hike the rates of offerings. The rates may go up by Rs 5 to Rs 20 at least as soon as the TDB gets the nod from the Kerala High Court.
The TDB sources said the rate hike proposal would be submitted to the Kerala High Court soon. The TDB expects to overcome the existing financial crisis through these measures.
The proposals on the new rates have been given by a committee headed by TDB Commissioner which studied the rate hike issue. The hike will come into effect soon after getting High Court's permission.
The rate hike move comes close on the heels of TDB's decision to sell utensils and other articles in temples which are not used for daily rituals. The objective was to raise money for running the day-to-day affairs of the temples.
The proposal is to hike the rate of archana, appam and aravana which are the main offerings at Sabarimala temple. The rate of aravana will be increased from Rs 80 to Rs 100 while that of appam from Rs 35 to Rs 50.
Mandala pilgrim season is the biggest source of TDB's income. However, the issues over women entry and the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected TDB's income during the previous two Mandala seasons.
Only a few devotees arrive even for monthly pujas owing to travel restrictions and health protocols in various states over COVID-19.
Owing to these factors other sources of income generation have to be considered, the TDB authorities said.