Cash offerings made by devotees at the famed Ambaji Temple and Dwarkadhish Temple coupled with earnings from other sources have secured the places of worship Rs 39.25 crore and Rs 8.11crore respectively. The figures were gathered on basis of income between April 1, 2016, and January 31 this year, Minister of State for Pilgrimage Development Dilipkumar Thakore submitted to the Assembly on Wednesday in a written reply.
The minister was responding to a question by Congress MLA from Jasdan Bholabhai Gohel. Based on details submitted by the minister in his reply to the Assembly, Ambaji shrine saw a decline in the average monthly earning in 2016-17, compared to the previous year. As per Thakore, in the last fiscal year, the temple trust earned average Rs 3.93 crore per month in 2016-17 compared to Rs 4.10 crore in the previous year.
The yearly income in 2015-16 stood at 49.21 crore compared to 39.25 crore in 10 months in 2016-17. For the Dwarkadhish Temple, the income in 2015-16 was Rs 9.18 crore and the 10-month income in 2016-17 has been Rs 8.11crore. Thakore further informed that the state government spent Rs 8.43 crore for development of Ambaji Temple in 2015-16 and Rs 68.94 lakh were spent in giving salaries to temple priests. In 2016- 17, the state spent Rs 4.90 crore as development expense and shelled out Rs 55.61lakh as salaries to priests.
Temple priests’ salaries in crores
Thakore’s written reply further states that at the Dwarkadhish Temple, the state gave Rs 7.65 crore in salary to priests in 2015-16 as against the Rs 6.75 crore in the 10 months ending on January 31, 2017. Fifteen per cent of the temple’s earnings were given towards administrative and staff strength. When contacted, Gohel told Mirror that the salaries and share of income given to priests of Dwarkadhish Temple is too high. “The salaries and share of temple’s income that the priests get is much higher than the salaries earned by top honchos at top spots in multi-national companies,” he said.