The Mathura administration has turned to cash donation boxes in temples to meet the currency requirement. Rakesh Tewari, PRO of Mathura’s Dwarkadheesh temple, says donations at temple counters have witnessed a drop since demonetisation
How has the note ban affected donations at the temple?
Big donations would usually happen at our donation counters, where people come with cash — Rs, 5,000, Rs 10,000, so on — and we give them a receipt. Then, there are devotees who drop smaller currency into the daan patras (donation boxes). After this note ban, devotees at our donation counters have dropped drastically. Anyway, how will people give money when they don’t have any?
How big is the drop in donations?
Almost 10,000 people visit the temple everyday — about half of them foreign tourists and pilgrims from others parts of the country. Earlier, we would give out 150 donations receipts, but now, only 20-30 people have been coming forward to donate. 3The Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai got Rs 27.5 lakh in old notes in the week since the note ban. What is the situation here?
When the daan patras were opened on Friday, after 16 days, we counted around Rs 62,000. There were currencies of all kinds, including some Rs 500 and 1,000 notes. There is no way we can control people if they decide to drop old currency notes in daan patras.
Will the dip in donations affect temple programmes?
Obviously. Most of the temple managers are worried because if the trend continues, our charitable programmes will be hit. We have to give salaries to employees, run gau seva (cow protection) programmes, organise community marriages and feasts, etc. We still havn’t felt the impact of the ban as we have funds in our banks but if this situation continues, we will face problems.
Do you think the note ban will help curb black money?
It is too early to say, but what I can say for sure is that the decision was taken in a hurry. The entire country is wasting its precious time in queues. I haven’t seen any neta or businessman in these queues. Ishita Mishra