Priests and other employees of 4,805 temples in Telangana will get salaries according to the state government pay scale from November, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced on Friday. Rao, who met a group of temple priests at his residence, said: “From now, archakas (priests) and other temple employees, numbering about 5,625, will get their salaries on the first of every month like any other government employee. Based on their status, they will get government employees’ salaries. Pay scales will be implemented from November.”
When the pay revision commission is implemented for state government employees, “temple employees’ salaries will also be revised”, Rao said.
In unified Andhra Pradesh, 1,805 temples were given money under the Dhoop Deep, Naivedyam programme.
Rao said: “In the past, 1,805 temple priests were given Rs 2,500 per month under Dhoop, Deep Naivedyam. The Telangana government has increased it to Rs 6,000. With this Dhoop, Deep Naivedyam scheme will be implemented in 4,805 temples in the state.”
Rao also said that a Dharmika Parishad will be formed to supervise and monitor temple related issues, and the Parishad will have state government representatives. He said since Independence, “a lot of atrocities took place on a large-scale on temples” and Telangana government wants to change that.
He said although temple priests “enjoy respect” in society, most of them find it difficult to eke out a living. “Parents are not giving their daughters in marriage to those working as archakas,” the Chief Minister said. “Now there will be a drastic change in that situation.”
The government “bossing over temples” will end with constitution of the Dharmika Parishad, he said. “This is the reason why we are forming Dharmika Parishad to take care of the temple administration and other issues, thereby reducing the government’s role. The temple administration will be entrusted to the Dharmika Parishad. For the welfare of Brahmins we have launched Brahmin Welfare Parishad with a Rs 100-crore fund.”
He said that priests in temples had prayed for the formation of Telangana. “God has granted our wish. Your blessings became real. Now we have got Telangana state. We are taking up several measures for development of temples, archakas welfare and Brahmin welfare,” Rao said.