The Odisha government on Tuesday decided to transfer Rs 545 crore of Puri Lord Jagannath at present parked in a private bank to a nationalised bank in March.
Out of total Rs 592 crore of the temple funds, Rs 47 crore has already been transferred to a nationalised bank.
State law minister Pratap Jena on Tuesday told the Assembly: “Process has begun to transfer the funds from the private bank to a nationalised bank. The Rs 47 crore that was deposited as flexi-fixed deposits in Yes Bank has already been withdrawn and deposited in a nationalised bank.”
He said: “Another Rs 545 crore that was kept as fixed deposits in Yes Bank will be transferred to a nationalised bank. The tenure of the Rs 545 crore deposits comes to an end in March and the cash will be withdrawn from the bank between March 19 and March 30 and will be deposited in a nationalised bank. The decision to deposit the money in a nationalised bank was taken in the temple management committee meeting on February 5.”
Sources said the ongoing volatile market has forced the government to take such a drastic step of transferring money from a private bank to a nationalised bank. Earlier, the state had witnessed a serious row over the issue of depositing money in a private bank. Even the Odisha government’s letter in October 2019 asking its public sector units and departments to be cautious while depositing money in banks, has further shaken the confidence of the temple management committee on private banks.
The government revealed that the Lord has a property of Rs 626.44 crore, including Rs 255,86, 78,876 deposited in the Temple Corpus Fund, Rs 98,96,36,866 in the Temple Foundation Fund and Rs 271,61,62,702 in the Temple Fund. Out of this Rs 592 crore was deposited in the Yes Bank.
All the money that is collected from different “hundis” established inside the temple and other parts of the state is deposited at the Foundation Fund. Ninety per cent of its funds are deposited in banks on a fixed-term basis and that cannot be liquidated. Ten per cent of the funds is diverted to the Temple Fund which can be utilised on expenses heads of the temple. The Corpus Fund is a statutory fund as per the temple act.
Those devotees, who donate money above Rs 500, are deposited in the Corpus Fund. Even the money donated by different companies comes under this head. All the money that the temple gets as revenue like selling of its lands comes to the Temple Fund. Temple administration also keeps the Corpus Fund on a fixed-term basis. But if required it can take break the fixed amount but not the Foundation Fund.
On why the temple had deposited the money earlier in a private bank, the minister said in order to get maximum interests, the money was kept in the private bank and the money was deposited through a tender process.
He also informed the Assembly that a total of 25,623 acres of Lord is yet to be reclaimed by the temple management.
“Lord Jagannath has around 60,427 acres with over 77,356 plots. Of the total land, temple administration has the record of rights of 34,803 acres and the rest is yet to be reclaimed,” Jena told the Assembly, adding a total of 395.252 acres of the temple are lying in six states. Out of this, 322.930 acres are in Bengal, 28.218 acres in Maharashtra, 25.110 acres in Madhya Pradesh, 17.020 acres in Andhra Pradesh, 1.700 acres in Chhattisgarh and 0.274 acres in Bihar.