If a proposal of the Maharashtra government is implemented, a substantial money from cash-rich temples of the state could be diverted to run government hospitals.
State medical education minister Girish Mahajan has prepared a proposal to provide better medical facilities to government-run hospitals and for this he proposed that the cash-rich temples in the region should contribute 50 per cent of their income.
Mahajan, who took the charge of medical education minister in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, has already forwarded his proposal to CM Devendra Fadnavis.
“We want poor people to get good medical facilities. They should get benefitted from money coming to these temples in form of donations,” Mahajan said, adding, ” Few may say that why only temples? Therefore, I will appeal to all religious institutions that they should contribute in it and help poor people to get better medical facilities.”
Mahajan has suggested that the trusts of Siddhivinayak in Prabhadevi, Tuljapur in Osmanabad, Mahalaxmi in Kolhapur and Shirdi’s Sai Baba temple should pay a monthly sum to government hospitals across the state.
“Soon meeting of these stakeholders will be called which will be lead my Maha CM. In which we’ll take inputs from these temples and other religious institutions and then make a final draft” said Mahajan.
TEMPLE TRUSTS REACT
While the idea has been welcomed by the people, temple trusts are not happy as they say that they are already into many charity work and the government’s move may affect their budget.
“As a government trust, half of the income earned by the Siddhivinayak temple is spent on healthcare, education and other social causes”, said Narendra Rane, chairman of the temple’s trust.
“It is very thoughtful of the medical education minister to suggest that all trusts should give 50 per cent of their income to government hospitals. But I feel the money should be utilised for other causes too,” said Rane.
“So far this year, we have contributed Rs 40 crore to the state government’s scheme for a drought-free Maharashtra. Every year, we keep a provision to spend up to Rs 12 crore for people suffering from various health issues,” he added.
Bajirao Shinde, executive officer of Saibaba Sansthan Trust, said “If government comes up with such proposal, being the CEO I will put it up in front of the managing commitee which will take a call on this.”
TEMPLES CONTRIBUTING FOR DROUGHT-HIT MARATHWADA
The temple in Shirdi is one of the richest shrines in the country with an annual income of nearly Rs 200 crore.
The Prabhadevi temple receives nearly Rs 75 crore – in the form of money, gold, silver and interest from investments – every year.
Shirdi Sai Baba temple and Siddhivinayak Trust Mumbai have contributed to state goverment’s flagship 5-year scheme called Kalyug Shivar project to provide permanent source of water to villages in drought-hit Marathwada.