Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 26 March 2023 1.11 AM IST

Money obtained as 'kanikka' getting damaged in Sabarimala; not clear what happened to this money


SABARIMALA: Apart from the betel-wrapped 'Kanni ponnu' offered at the Hundika (collection box) in front of the Sreekovil of Sabarimala, the money received as 'kanikka' is also known to have got damaged. It is not clear what happened to those notes.

All this money obtained as 'kanikka' usually arrives at the old Bhandaram (coffer) of Sannidhanam. From there, the notes and coins are transported to the new Bhandaram through a conveyor. Four conveyors are used for this purpose. These machines are installed in an underground tunnel from the old Bhandaram. It is a common occurrence that notes falling on these conveyors fly and get entangled in the mechanical parts of the machine and get damaged and smeared with grease. It is indicated that the damaged notes were not kept as cut notes or washed. The top officials of Devaswom or Vigilance have no idea what to do with the torn notes.

It is believed that the Devaswom Board has lost lakhs of rupees due to this. It is also alleged the authorities did not dry the notes which fell from the conveyor into the water entering the underground tunnel during monsoons. A large number of currency notes got damaged this way. It is not clear what happened to all this money. Various allegations have been raised in this regard.

During the pilgrimage season, the money reaching the coffer could be counted promptly only if at least 300 employees work under the leadership of a special officer. However, this time, less than 150 people, including the students of Devaswom Board's Kalapeedom, were appointed for this purpose. A special officer is given charge of the coffer for 20 days. It is indicated that due to the shortage of employees, the special officer who came at the first stage of this season, counted the notes after keeping the 'kanikka' in sacks. At this stage, one to one and a half crore rupees were counted and paid daily to the bank.

One and a half crore became two and a half crore?

After it was alleged that the amount paid to the bank was low despite the massive increase in 'kanikka', the authorities started counting only the notes above the denomination of 50 and 100 rupees. With this, the board was able to pay up to two and a half crore rupees daily in the bank. Small notes and coins lay uncounted. During the third phase, Kerala Kaumudi published the news stating that money obtained as 'kanikka' was getting destroyed as they were not counted on time. Only after this did the Devaswom Board focus on matters related to the coffer.

Money counted in confidential way
Only the staff assigned to the duty, officials and Devaswom vigilance officers can enter the heavily secured coffer. When the new coffer was built, large glasses were attached so that pilgrims could watch the counting of money and get light inside. However, the shutters in front of these glasses were later closed. With this, outsiders were not able to see what was going on inside.

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