Turtles all the way down

Minister blows Rs17 crore on prayer for rain!

Posted by doctore0 on July 21, 2012

Kota Srinivas Poojary is a worried man. The monsoon sky — alternating between grey and blue, but shedding very little rain — has got him worried. But while most of us can do nothing more than wait for the rain to revive, the minister, it seems, has had enough. Poojary is not going to sit idle and twiddle his thumbs any longer. The minister has decided to intervene. How? He has decided to placate rain God Varuna.

Yes, in an announcement that was bizarre and baffling by turns, and which could have been a first for the state, the minister on Friday ordered special pujas to be conducted in over 34,000 temples coming under his department across the state to please rain God Varuna. Needless to say, the exercise is not going to come cheap: the total expenditure for conducting the pujas could cost over Rs17 crore.

Poojary said that a special puja and homa will be conducted on the morning of July 27 and August 2. Those temples having water bodies in their premises and those on the banks of rivers like Kollur Mookambika, Kukke Subramanyaswami and Srikantheswara temples will be allowed to conduct homas and yajnas. Other temples will conduct jalabhisheka puja.

An order to this effect has been issued to all deputy commissioners, zonal officers, tehsildars and CEOs of zilla panchayats by the under-secretary of revenue department (Muzrai), AV Srinivas Dikshit. Temples have been authorised to spend up to Rs5,000 each from their respective temple funds.

Defending the decision, Poojary said the puja was being organised not to celebrate any event or to show-off. “It’s purely a spiritual event to invoke divine forces, and it’s a prayer for rains in the backdrop of drought. The government has understood the necessity of conducting such a special puja,” explained the minister.

Sample this: the same amount, if used for developmental works, could have made a big difference to the lives of people. As many as 850 classrooms (Rs2 lakh per classroom) could have been built; nearly 170 kms of village roads could have been laid (with a budget of Rs 10 lakh per kilometre) and 566 borewells could have been dug and made operational (with a budget of Rs 3 lakh each).

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