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Ramakanta Biswas

The donation of coins in abundance by devotees at the shrine of Ghatagaon Maa Tarini, the presiding deity of Keonjhar district, seems to have created problem of plenty for the temple trust board after the refusal of banks to accept the small change.

According to sources, about Rs 80 lakh donations received in the form of coins by the temple are deposited with two banks. While Rs 53 lakh is deposited with the State Bank of India, Rs 27 lakh is deposited in the Bank of India, Ghatagaon branch. 

However, the two banks are believed to have recently written to the temple trust board stating that they would not receive coins anymore, leaving the temple management in limbo. 

Usually, the shrine receives coins worth Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 along with coconut offerings by devotees on a daily basis. In addition, donation worth lakhs are collected in the donation boxes. 

Rajendra Kumar Patnaik, president of Maa Ghatagaon Tarini Trust Board said, “The two banks have deposits of Rs 80 lakh in the bank account of the trust which we used to put in as coins. Yesterday too, we deposited coins worth lakhs collected in the donation boxes and along with the coconut offerings. However, the banks informed us that they would not entertain coins any more. So now, if the banks do not accept coins, it will create a major problem.” 

“We held discussion and wrote to Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Commission, Bhubaneswar, Additional Assistant Commissioner of Endowments, Sambalpur and Reserve Bank Of India to look into the matter,” he added.  

Sharing his view on the issue, economist Ajay Sahu said, “Since the banks have been set up for the temple, it is their responsibility to accept the deposit and dispose them off. There are several big temples across the country which receives donations in crores and they are disposed off.”

“Secondly, there are over 40 branches of Bank of India spread across Keonjhar. If the zonal manager distributes the coins in all branches, they can be disposed off smoothly. It is right on part of the bank authorities to refuse to accept the coins,” he added.

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