The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sri N Chandrababu Naidu elevated the need to turn holy temples into prime places of growth centres.
To this effect, the government is planning to develop the surroundings of all major temples to include health, education and spiritual centres. “The premises should also house educational institutions, YOGA (spiritual) and wellness centres, Aayush centres (for health) so that an entire ecosystem will be created in the region.” said CM in a review meeting with the Endowments Department in his office.
According to the Chief Minister, if wellness and spirituality or positive attitude increases among people, it will bring down health issues. “This will eventually bring down healthcare spending by people,” he added. Mr Naidu has directed the department to make Annadanam, Vidyadanam and Pranadanam part of the temple activity.
“Annadanam should be mandatory in every temple. No person in the temple surroundings can go hungry. We should be able to feed every person in the vicinity. Simultaneously, hygiene and sanitation should be maintained along with beautification and landscaping.”
In the meantime, the Chief Minister also underscored the need to protect endowment lands in the state. “Come up with innovative ways of parks and sports facilities in these areas to protect them,” he added.
Stating that temple should become part of people’s lives, the Chief Minister suggested that on the occasions of birth, marriage and death, temples priests should take initiative to visit the houses of those and perform rituals.
“If a baby is born, the priest from that village can visit their house and bless them. Similar practice can be followed for marriages. In case of death, they can perform the shuddhi puja and other rituals. This practice of connecting with people will bring goodwill,” he added.
Public satisfaction is important, the Chief Minister said, adding that the department set up a call centre to seek feedback from them. “Have a control room that will monitor all the temples and their daily activities regularly,” he added.
“Digitization of all temple records, daily activities is very important,” he said, highlighting the need to build capacities of the department. For training priests, the government is planning to hold workshops.
For all temples with income over Rs 1 crore, an audit can be conducted. “Appoint a financial advisor who will hold audits regularly to keep an eye on the funds and income.”
The Chief Minister also said that cultural activities such as Kuchipudi dance should be promoted in a grand way, basing the theme on the God/Temple diety. “This will not only highlight the cultural quotient but also bring in spirituality,” he added.
He instructed officials to also encourage people to volunteer at temples. “Volunteering is a big way of mobilizing people. Encourage people to volunteer at temples and serve people. This way, we can also mobilize them for major spiritual and cultural events in the state,” he added.
The Chief Minister also directed officials to keep an eye on the transportation to temples. “Ensure that they do not cause trouble to people or extort money from pilgrims,” he said, adding that guides can be appointed to guide pilgrims and ensure they have a safe and good Darshan.
Source – AP CMO