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Crores fill up temple coffers

The blasts on the World Heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara campus and other places in Bodhgaya did not have much impact on Buddhist nations and their nationals visiting the holy city and donations offered in 2013.

On the contrary, the shrine and its management, the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC), received the maximum donations in the financial year 2013-14, both in cash and in kind.

The total earnings of the shrine, including Rs 20 crore in fixed deposits, crossed Rs 100 crore.

The donation included 289.042kg gold from Thailand. The work of wrapping thin sheets of pure gold around the temple spire was completed on November 27 last year.

According to the market value of gold in November last year, the value of 289.042kg gold was around Rs 86.71 crore, while the present value is around Rs 80.93 crore.

During the same period, BTMC also earned around Rs 11.19 crore, including Rs 4.18 crore from the charity box, Rs 4.6 crore through money receipts and Rs 2.01 crore under other miscellaneous heads such as sale of books, camera fee, photography fee, butter lamp rents and meditation fee apart from Rs 37.96 lakh from bank interest on fixed deposits of Rs 20 crore.

Cash donation increased almost three-fold in the financial year 2013-14 as compared to the financial year 2009-10 in which BTMC had earned around Rs 3.91 crore as donation from charity box, money receipts, under miscellaneous heads and as bank interest. The committee has Rs 20 crore in its fixed deposit account in the bank against which it provides interest every year.

Gaya district magistrate-cum-BTMC chairman Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said the gold donated by devotees of Thailand is a one-time activity and it could not be used for other purposes.

Agarwal added that BTMC had been doing a lot of activities from its income that includes payment of salary and wages of around 300 permanent employees and temporary workers. “The committee runs a clinic on its campus for local residents as well as tourists and devotees. The construction of a hospital is one of the proposals BTMC is considering,” he said.