Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin launches scheme to convert gold offered at temples into 24-carat gold bars
The gold monetisation project has begun at three well-known temples: Samayapuram, Thiruverkadu, and Irukkankudi.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has started a scheme under which gold offered at temples by worshippers would be converted into 24-carat gold bars. The gold monetisation project has begun at three well-known temples: Samayapuram, Thiruverkadu, and Irukkankudi. It comes after the Tamil Nadu BJP filed a petition in the Madras High Court contesting the state government's decision to melt gold offerings into gold bars and deposit them in nationalised banks. On Tuesday, the state administration informed the high court that the melting of gold jewellery belonging to temples in Tamil Nadu was not a new occurrence and had been going on since 1977.
As per Advocate-General R Shanmugasundaram's statement, who represented the Tamil Nadu government, noted that up to five lakh grammes of gold jewellery had been burnt since 1977. He made a comment at the hearing of petitions against the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department's announcements of September 9 and 22. According to news agency PTI, the AG told the court that certain people were suddenly making a great deal over the gold monetisation plan despite being unaware of its existence since 1977.
The Tamil Nadu government has decided to burn gold jewellery donated to temples by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Board. The government has suggested that about 2,137 kg of gold jewellery be melted into gold bars and deposited in nationalised banks at the government mint in Mumbai. To guarantee openness, the HR&CE department has also created a panel led by a retired Supreme Court judge and aided by two retired High Court judges to supervise the entire process.
The petitioners said that according to the HR&CE minister's declaration, there are around 38,000 temples in possession of approximately 2,000 kgs of gold worth approximately Rs 10,000 crore, which will be melted. However, being part of a secular State, the agency lacks the authority to do so.