Kochi: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday said his government would strongly oppose any move to deposit temple treasures in banks to make up for the country’s trade imbalance.
Reacting to reports in this regard, he said the state would not allow the riches of Kerala temples to be deposited in banks under a government order.
“It could only be a speculative report. I don’t think the Centre would come out with such a policy. Even if it unveils such a scheme, we will not allow to touch the invaluable jewels of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple or any other places of worship without the consent of the devotees and temples,” he said.
Media reports have said that the government may be looking at monetizing the vast gold resources of temples like Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to cut down the current account deficit on account of high gold imports. The budget for the current fiscal contains a proposal for monetizing a part of an estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold in India which is neither traded nor monetized.
Noting that the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is the richest temple in the world, the Chief Minister said the invaluable treasures of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple belong to the deity and the temple.
“No one has the right to touch it without the consent of the temple and its devotees. Moreover, the matter related to the temple asset is with the Supreme Court,” Chandy said.
The Chief Minister also showered praise on Travancore Royals for preserving the invaluable treasures of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple over centuries.
“I salute them…their devotion. It was because of their honesty and integrity such a treasure is still there at the temple,” the Chief Minister said.
Besides Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Lord Krishna temple in Guruvayoor and Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala are the two other temples in Kerala said to be having gold reserves worth thousands of crores of Rupees.