Himachal to sell 50 pc of temple gold reserves



Shimla (Apr 7): In order to wider the scope of earlier bill and dispose off idle gold in the stock of temple trusts, Himachal Pradesh government today proposed amendment in the HP Hindu Public Religious & Charitable Endowments Act 1984, proposing better utilization of gold reserves.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today laid ‘HP Hindu Public Religious Institutions & Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill 2011’ proposing atonement in the HP Hindu Public Religious & Charitable Endowments Act 1984. The Bill intends to insert new clauses in section 12(A) in HP Hindu Public Religious & Charitable Endowments Act 1984 by proposing that 50 per cent gold be converted into gold biscuits or coins and sold to the devotees and pilgrim on the current prevailing market price.

The Chief Minister stated that 70 per cent gold reserve in temples were causing loss of crores of rupees to the temple trusts and also involve undue expenditure for security of the same. Last year, Dhumal had also tabled ‘Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2010, to manage the centuries-old wealth, including huge quantity of gold and silver lying idle with various temple trusts in the state.

Earlier amendment was to use 10 per cent of gold for various activates related to temples, investing 20 per cent gold in the “Gold Bond Scheme ” of State Bank of India and 70 per cent of gold to be kept as reserve in temples. It also suggests that 20 per cent of silver in temple trusts to be used for various temple activities, 20 per cent to be kept in reserve and 60 per cent silver be converted into silver coins and sold to devotees and pilgrims on current market price.

The new amendment also suggests to drop the chairmen of Zila Parishads from the committees constituted under pervious amendment citing reason that they have no role to play in the activities of temple trusts. The bill is likely to listed for discussion in the House tomorrow.

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