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Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in a visit to Kullu district on September 12 strongly defended the formation of the Raghunathji Temple Trust, saying it was in the larger interest of people. In a public meeting at Banjar, the CM said, the Raghunath temple is nobody’s private property. Lord Raghunathji is widely worshipped and is the presiding deity of around 300 devatas of the Kullu Valley.

“People have unflinching faith in the deity. We are all well wishers of the royal family of Kullu, but the trust’s formation will ensure the temple’s better management,” he said.

“Times have changed. We should respect and accept the change. The Raghunath Temple Trust has been formed to ensure proper audit and provide proper security,” he said, without mentioning senior BJP leader and chief kardar of the deity, Maheshwar Singh.

He added that present Lord Raghunathji’s idol is placed in a small room, there should be a magnificent temple in Kullu.

“The government has no intention to take over the temple but is ready to spend enough funds on its maintenance and upkeep,” he assured.

Preservation and conservation of traditional architecture at temples, and development of culture and traditions should be done at all cost, he stressed.

He said the government had adequate funds for renovation and repair of temples provided they are done in line with traditional architecture.

To check absenteeism of teachers, the CM said, “A directorate of inspection is being constituted. It will keep check on the attendance of teachers, especially in schools in remote areas.”

Speaking against the grading system, he said proper exams would be held from Class V onwards. “It will help assess the quality of education imparted to students,” he said.

“As many as 6949 additional habitats have been covered under rural water supply schemes and 4887 hand pumps have been installed in water scarcity areas in the last 45 months, he said adding 10,586 hectare has been provided irrigation facility at a cost of Rs 400 Crore.

He added Rs 773 Crore had been spent on various water supply schemes during this period.

Virbhadra Singh reprimanded the Kullu DC delays in implementing his orders and directed his immediate transfer of the DC.