Forget the common man; even god is feeling the pinch of the Centre’s shock withdrawal of high value currency notes!
The crippling fallout of demonetisation hasn’t spared the houses of god, with donations to temples — both big and small — dipping sharply and the trusts clearly hard pressed to arrange money for preparation of bhog (ritualistic offering to god) and the routine maintenance of temples and deities.
“Since the withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 banknotes, footfalls at temples have fallen considerably and the donations, too, have dipped. With funds in short supply, we’re facing a tough time carrying out routine rituals,” Babloo Halder, vice-president of the Kalighat Temple Committee, told HT.
The temple staff claimed that the footfall that surges to about 30,000 at most shrines on weekdays and doubles on weekends, has dropped to 5,000 since the Centre’s big bang policy announcement.
“Even the donation that reaches close to Rs1 lakh on Saturdays and Sundays has hit rock bottom. We received donation of only about Rs 12,000 last Sunday,” said 65-year-old Halder, who has been associated with a temple committee for the last 39 years.
Faced with cash crunch, the temple committees had little option but to cut down on the quantity of bhog. Generally, we spend about Rs 40,000 per day to prepare bhog. But over the last few days, we’ve had to contain the expenditure to about Rs 25,000.
The iconic Kali temple at Tarapith, too, has fallen on hard times. About 310 km from Kolkata, the temple has recorded a sharp dip donation since the cash recall.
But here the authorities have decided to offer credit to long-standing devotees. “We have had a dip of at least 25% in the number of devotees visiting the temple. Accordingly, there has been a sharp decline in donations. However, we are offering credit to our old clients whom we know for a long time,” said Taramoy Mukherjee, secretary, of the Tarapith temple association.