Apprehensive of the economic slump, the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Wednesday decided to deposit its funds with the State Bank of India and other nationalised banks only instead of private banks, officials said on Wednesday.
The chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple, Dr Krishan Kumar, told reporters in Puri: “The management committee, which met today, approved a plan to keep the temple’s Foundation Fund only with the SBI as per the guidelines of the state government. Besides, we have corpus funds and temple funds. The funds of the Shree Jagannath Temple will be deposited in nationalised banks only.”
Officials maintain that the temple will invite a tender and all banks will be asked to cite the percentage they could give to the temple against the funds they will get.
He said: “Fifty per cent of the fund corpus and the existing temple fund will be kept in the nationalised bank that will give the highest interest. The remaining amount will be deposited in two other nationalised banks that will come second and third in the tender process. Our objective is that we will not keep the money in one nationalised bank only but will be deposited in three to four nationalised banks. It will be implemented from the next financial year.”
Officials said the temple had three funds — Foundation Fund, Corpus Fund and Temple Fund. All the money that is collected from different “hundis” established inside the temple and other parts of the state is deposited in the Foundation Fund. Ninety per cent of this fund is deposited in banks on a fixed-term basis that cannot be liquidated. Ten per cent of the fund is diverted to the temple fund that can be utilised on expense heads of the temple. The corpus fund is a statutory fund as per the temple act.
Donations above Rs 500 are deposited in the corpus funds. The money donated by different companies also comes under this head. All the money that the temple gets as revenue like selling its land comes to the temple funds. The temple administration also keeps the corpus fund on a fixed-term basis. But if required it can break the fixed amount but not the foundation fund.
The total amount of all these three funds is around Rs 592 crore. While the Foundation Fund has nearly Rs 91.74 crore in deposits, the amount deposited in the Corpus and Temple Funds are Rs 244.60 crore and 255.66 crore.
Earlier these funds had been deposited in nationalised banks but last year the temple management committee shifted all its money to a private bank (YES Bank) that had promised to give a higher interest compared to other nationalised banks.
“The money that has now been parked in Yes Bank on a one-year term fixed deposit. The maturity will be in March 2020. We will take the money and deposit it in the nationalised banks. We don’t want more interest but want safety and security of the Lord’s money,” member of the management committee, Ramachandra Das Mohapatra, told The Telegraph.