With temples under the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) practically closed to devotees on account of the Covid pandemic, the TDB has been in a bad shape.
The Travancore Board controls all the temples in the southern districts of Kerala, including the famed Sabarimala temple, which is literally the cash cow that brings in the much needed revenues — used in meeting expenses like payment of salaries to the various educational institutions under the TDB.
The TDB gets a monthly bill of Rs 40 crore for salaries and pension.
With its coffers practically empty, they have now approached the State government for funds.
The TDB also requires Rs 5 crore for procuring the needs of the temples under it.
Until now, the board always used to bank on the revenues that came from the temples, principally the Sabarimala, to meet the expenses.
The revenues nose-dived from Rs 261 crore, when times were good to a paltry Rs 21 crore, leaving the TDB in dire straits.
In 2020, Sabarimala season was affected badly amid the Covid protocols.
In 2018 temple season, the BJP/RSS and Sangh Parivar forces put up a strong resistance when the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged 10-50.
It was mayhem between them and the Kerala Police who was ready to provide security to women who wished to pray at the temple.
“So literally the Sabarimala temple revenues have been affected for the past three years, leaving the TDB in turmoil and with the pandemic continuing to play spoil sport.
“The TDB authorities are keeping their fingers crossed on how the upcoming festival season in November will turn our,” said a source in the know of things of the day to day running of the TDB.