Four BJP MLAs in Gujarat — Shailesh Mehta of Dabhoi Assembly constituency; Shashikant Pandya of Deesa; Mahesh Raval of Khambhat and Jignesh Sevak of Lunawada — have written to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, seeking financial assistance for temple priests who are in “dire straits” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MLAs’ letter stated that the closure of temples due to the Covid-19 lockdown, enforced in March this year, meant that several priests who relied on religious rituals to earn a living were left without any source of income.
“Although ration kits were distributed to priests by relief organisations, their livelihood has been hard hit. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit trade, business, industries as well as independent professionals in a major way.”
“While these effects are visible, the condition of temple priests is such that one would not notice it as they are suffering in silence. It is essential that the government reaches out to them with financial assistance, as it has done by announcing Rs 10,000 relief for unorganised vendors or through subsidy loans for small businesses. But the Karamkand priests (those who rely on income from conducting yagnas) as well as Brahmins have not benefited from these packages.”
The letter further urged the chief minister to announce a package for all temple priests across Gujarat.
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