It is for the Supreme Court to decide if the treasures of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram should be utilised for flood-relief work in Kerala as the apex court is dealing with the temple management, says a Travancore royal family scion.
According to legend, a portion of the temple's treasure is meant for overcoming crisis situations arising from famine or any other natural calamity.
The Supreme Court has intervened in the temple management following on a plea by T.P. Soundarajan, a former IPS officer turned lawyer, in 2011. According to reports, a stock taking done at the instance of the apex court, showed that the temple's valuables are worth over Rs one lakh crore.
Speaking to IANS, "Prince" Aditya Varma refused to comment on "Rs one lakh crore" which he said was a media creation.
"One thing that our family elders have told us is that there is close to 1,000 kg of gold which is stored in the form of paddy grains. This was kept by our forefathers to be used in times of need. Let the Supreme Court decide to pledge this to raise money for our state which is going through one of the worst tragedies," Varma said.
The Kerala government also "can come out with its opinion and then we may also make our position clear," he said.
"If such a thing happens, other religious institutions including churches and mosques, should also should chip in. It should not be limited to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple," Varma added.
Ever since monsoon rains began lashing Kerala on May 29, a total of 417 people have died in the state due to floods and landslips. The flood fury this month has caused unprecedented destruction and forced more than one million people to take shelter in relief camps.
According to preliminary estimates, the state has suffered a damage of Rs 30,000 crore.