Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has revived a long-pending project for building a golden chariot for the famous Kukke Surahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, a move which has drawn flak even as reports linked it to his astrological belief.
He has asked officials to submit a fresh proposal before the state cabinet for the chariot, first taken up by the then Congress-JDS coalition government in 2005, after revising the cost estimate of Rs 15 crore when it was cleared earlier.
The fresh initiative, however, has drawn flak from the state unit of BJP while reports in a section of media said Kumaraswamy has taken it up after being advised by astrologers that not completing theproject may have implications on his political future.
BJP Spokesperson and MLA Suresh Kumar in a tweet questioned whether Kukke Subrahmanya (reigning deity) will desire for a golden chariot (at such a cost) at the time when the state was facing shortage of drinking water.
A release from the Chief Minister's Office said devotes of the temple met Kumaraswamy and brought to hisnotice about the Dharam Singh government's decision and requestedhim to resume the project.
"In this context, the Chief Minister has directed the officials submit a proposal before the cabinet after revising the estimates, considering today's market value of gold, construction cost," it said.
Noting that the project was approved in 2005, the CMO said a government order was alsoissued for building the chariot at a cost of Rs 15 crore then.
The government had given its approval to use thegold available with the temple and forpurchasing the remaining requirement through banks, it said.
The order had stated that the chariot be built by using the resources of the temple and public donations, making clear no government grant could be utilised for the purpose.
Kukke Subrahmanya temple is said to be therichest among the shrines under the state Muzrai department, which administers several temples.
Though the then government had given the clearance, the chariot project had not taken off till now.
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