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TDB seeks financial aid for Sabarimala temple

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TDB seeks financial aid for Sabarimala temple
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala has sought financial aid from the state government for the temple following drastic fall in revenue during the just concluded Mandala-Makaravillaku festival.

Board sources said the final amount to be sought from the government was yet to be arrived yet, but they were keeping their fingers crossed and hoping at least Rs 250 crore would be set apart for the development of Sabarimala in the state budget, which is to be presented Thursday.

The August floods and the recent massive protests by right wing activists and devotees over the women entry issue at the temple had led to a revenue dip of Rs 100 crore in Hundi collections and 'prasadam' sales this year.

Right wing outfits had also allegedly asked devotees not to make any money offerings at hundis in temples managed by the TDB as a mark of protest against the stand taken by the CPI(M)-led LDF government to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine.

The nearly two month long festival had witnessed protests by frenzied devotees at the temple complex.

On January 2, two women in their forties-- Kanakadurga and Bindu-- managed to trek the hill shrine with plain-clothed personnel and offered prayers, thus creating history.

A Sri Lankan woman also managed to reach the shrine.

Controversy had erupted in Kerala after the left government submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court recently claiming 51 women in menstrual age entered the Sabarimala temple during this pilgrimage season.

The BJP, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and the Pandalam royal family, associated with the Lord Ayyappa temple, had come down heavily on the state government saying there were discrepancies in the age of the women devotees mentioned in the affidavit.

The names of at least two men from Tamil Nadu were also listed in the affidavit.

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