The Haryana government on Wednesday decided to take over management of the historical Shri Mata Chandi Devi Temple at Chandi Mandir in Panchkula.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday.
The decision to take over management of the temple was taken in the wake of numerous complaints against the administration, management and over governance of the temple by the current group of pujaris (priests), who acquired it after the death of a former priest who had executed a will in favour of priest Surat Giri and his successors.
Sufficient offerings are made in cash and kind in this temple by the devotees, but very little amount is being spent on the upkeep of the temple or in providing facilities to the pilgrims in or around the temple, an official spokesperson said.
On the basis of the complaints, a First Information Report (FIR) was also registered.
The Khair trees were also being sold without any authority of law and the trees were being cut in contravention of the government’s instructions regarding cutting of trees.
This temple, connected with the Pandavas and the state capital of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, has derived its name from Chandimandir.
Therefore, the management, governance and administration of this temple is taken over for the purpose of its development and growth, the spokesperson said.
The Cabinet also decided to take over the management of the Shri Durga Mata Mandir at Banbhori in district Hisar.
The decision to take over the management of this temple was taken in view of the difficulties being experienced by the pilgrims and devotees and over lack of facilities.
The decision was also aimed at putting an end to open plundering of the temple and sale of properties under the Haryana Shri Durga Mata Mandir, Banbhori Shrine Act, 2017.
At present, the management of the temple in Banbhori rests in the hands of the family of a priest due to which law and order problem and mismanagement prevails there.
The temple receives offerings worth `14 to `15 crore annually and the whole income remains in the hands of one priest, the spokesperson said.
The temple does not maintain any record of the income and the priest’s family uses the entire donation for their personal purposes, the spokesperson added.