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Last Updated : Sep 19, 2020 08:51 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

COVID-19 impact | Sabarimala temple, 1,247 others in Kerala seek gold loans from RBI

The cash crunch comes a result of devotees staying away from the temples fearing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the drying up of cash donations to the temples by devotees

The iconic Sabarimala temple, which attracts around 30 million visitors a year, and 1,247 other temples under the Kerala government-run Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), are planning to knock on the doors of Reserve Bank India (RBI) for gold loans.

With even the wealthiest temples finding it tough to weather the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, these places of worship are now making contingency plans to pawn their gold to tide over the tough times, Mint reported.

The cash crunch comes as a result of devotees staying away from the temples fearing the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, which has led to the drying up of cash donations to the temples by devotees, the report said.

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Speaking to Bloomberg, Prayar Gopalakrishnan, a former president of TDB, said that the gold belongs to the gods. “Historically, governments used to exploit gold and land reserves of temples for their own revenue streams, leaving temples high and dry. If the temples want to use gold, there should be a sound legal framework that is as strong as traditional covenants.”

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This is besides the fact that unlocking temple gold is fraught with complex problems. These range from legal barriers to local politics. Deities, legally treated as minors in India who can own property, are represented by an official guardian in most of Kerala’s temples.

"India’s deep-rooted connection with gold suggests that a fundamental shift in mentality and attitudes is needed before people can come around to recycling it," analysts at UBS, led by Tanvee Gupta said in a August 25 report.
First Published on Sep 19, 2020 08:51 pm
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