VISAKHAPATNAM: After a long gap of 12 years, Simhachalam temple authorities have taken one-and-a-half months to complete appraisal of the gold the shrine possesses.
Simhachalam executive officer (EO) M.V. Suryakala explained that a two-member team of endowments department, comprising a verification officer and valuer, completed the process of valuing and weighing each and every gold ornament. They also verified the presence of all ornaments listed in the 2009 appraisal register.
“These appraisals should be taken up every three years. But that was not done,” Suryakala told Deccan Chronicle in Visakhapatnam on Monday, without explaining the reasons. She maintained that the team has verified the ornaments, which are with temple priests for adorning the deity. They inspected and assessed the ornaments with temple assistant executive officer (AEO) and in the strong room. These included ornaments donated by devotees, for which officials give them a receipt and record the same in interim register with names of devotees. All ornaments have also been photographed.
The EO said, “Though audit has been done after a long gap of 12 years, not a gram of gold or silver is missing.” Allaying fears of devotees, she said there is no scope for theft of gold ornaments, as every item is valued by the temple goldsmith and kept in the strong room.
As per details given by Suryakala, as on September 9, ornaments made of 1.8 kg gold are under control of executive officer, 12.14 kg with temple archakas, 9.25 kg under AEO’s control, 44.14 kg in Gold Bond scheme, 3.8 kg in Andhra Bank locker and 2.4 kg under Rajagopuram Kalasas. In all, the temple has 72 kg of gold and every bit is intact, she maintained.
The appraisal came in the wake of Simhachalam temple devotees expressing anger at temple management for their negligent attitude in protecting gold ornaments donated by the devout from time to time. They had been upset when told that no audit or appraisal has been done since 2009.
“How can they neglect temple wealth,” asked a 70-year-old devotee from Rajahmundry, who has the habit of donating silk robes with small gold ornaments during Sravana Masam....