NAGPUR: The cash crunch has hit not only mortals but houses of God, too. Some temples are reporting sharp drop in donations while others are getting more money through paperless currency.Sai Temple on Wardha Road, which is very popular with devotees, has not been affected by demonetisation. Its cash donations have gone down but people are paying through net banking and debit cards. The temple trust had installed card swiping machines long back and is now reaping the benefits.

Avinash Shegaonkar, secretary of Sai Mandir Trust, said that earlier, paperless donations were between Rs 500 and Rs 700 per day. “Now, they are in the range of Rs 3,500. Cash donations, which were in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000, have gone down in the same proportion. Our collection on Thursday, most auspicious for Sai Baba, is normally in the range of Rs 50,000. Even that has not been affected,” he said, adding that the temple had completely stopped taking notes in demonetised notes. “However, if somebody puts these notes in the donation box, we can’t help it,” he further said.

Another popular shrine, the Koradi Temple, has been badly hit by cash crunch. Facility to donate through paperless transactions has not helped. Temple manager Pankaj Chaudhari said that donations through all modes had taken a hit. “We are strictly not taking old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but if somebody puts them in the donation box, we are helpless,” he added.
The Ganesh Tekdi Temple, however, still continues to accept demonetised notes. Shriram Kulkarni, secretary of the Temple Trust, said, “We are accepting notes because we have not got any intimation from the central government or other authorities in this regard. We will write letters to the authorities and take further steps. But as of now, we are accepting the old notes.”

The Balaji Temple at Seminary Hills has taken a totally different stand. Temple Trust president GS Natarajan said that he already intimated the police regarding demonetised currency. “We are not accepting these notes but if somebody puts it in the donation box then we are not responsible. We will open the donation box in December. At that time, the authorities should not blame us. We are also encouraging electronic donations,” he added.

Harishankar Dixit, manager of Poddareshwar Ram Mandir, said, “We aren’t accepting discontinued notes as donations because they would not be of use to us, and we’ll have to queue up in lines at the bank to deposit them.”

Prakash Kothari, trustee at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, said ,”We put a notice board outside our mandir on November 8 itself, asking devotees not to make donations in discontinued currency.” Jayant Apte of Ram Nagar Temple said that it would be known on next Wednesday whether any old notes were put in the donation box, when it is opened.

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