TN govt to extend free food scheme to more temples in state

The Tamil Nadu government is planning to extend the day-long “Annadhanam” (free food) scheme to more temples in the state, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P.K. Sekar Babu said.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had inaugurated the scheme in the Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple, Tiruchendhur, the Maryamman temple, Samyapuram, and the Subramanya Swamy temple in Tiruttani on Thursday virtually. Through this scheme initiated by the HR&CE Department, people will get food from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The HR&CE Department said that through this scheme, it expects to feed 7500 people in the three temples.

At present, two other temples, the Arulmigu Aranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam and, the Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, Palani are providing free food to people from morning till evening.

Talking to IANS, Sekar Babu said: “The ‘Annadhanam’ scheme is a novel way to support people and with food available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., people in the premises of these temples need not go to bed hungry and this is being done after the directive of Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin. We are planning to extend this to more temples.”

The DMK government has also been concentrating on recovering the encroached land of the temples in the state and the HR&CE Department has been in the forefront of this drive.

According to a report by the Survey Department, there is a discrepancy of 50,000 acres from the survey report of 1985 and that of 2020 and the HR&CE Department is undertaking a massive operation to recover the land taken over by the encroachers.

The Madras High Court had also recently ordered that those who take over temple land be booked under Goonda Act.

The minister also told IANS that that the encroachers and land grabbers would be dealt with a strong hand and that no one of these would be allowed to go scot-free. The minister said that the DMK government, after assuming office, has recovered good tract of temple land from encroachers and land grabbers.