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Pashupatinath income goes down by millions



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By Binu Shrestha

Kathmandu, June 13: Ever since lockdown was announced on March 24, many places of worship have remained shut.
Since the temples have remained inaccessible to the devotees, the management has incurred a massive loss, and the Pashupatinath temple is no exception.
The income of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), which used to earn tens of thousands of rupees daily, has fallen to zero.
During the lockdown, the PADT has faced a loss of Rs 100 million, thanks to the restrictions that have prevented devotees and tourists from visiting the religious shrine.
Pashupatinath, the wealthiest temple in the country, has faced a massive hit as far as the monthly donations are concerned. The temple has witnessed a drastic drop in the number of devotees.
Pashupatinath Temple used to be crowded with the devotees throughout the year. Nowadays it only has the staff and trust members in attendance.
The various income sources of Pashupatinath have now plunged to zero, the PADT said.
Since the lockdown was imposed, the trust has faced losses of around Rs 100 million, said Dr Milan Kumar Thapa, treasurer of the PADT.
He said the trust had been facing losses of almost Rs 1 million on a daily basis. The PADT used to collect Rs 100,000 to 250,000 from the offerings of devotees daily.
Altogether, the trust has faced the losses of almost Rs 15 million offering by the devotees, he added.
“The trust had targeted to collect Rs 1.34 billion in the current fiscal year. However, it had collected only Rs 553 million prior to the lockdown. And now the prolonged lockdown has forced the trust to bear the losses to the tune of Rs 100 million,” said Dr Thapa.
The main temple of Pashupatinath has been closed for the first time in history. It has remained closed since the second week of the lockdown.
The trust has earned Rs 60 million from the special worship offered by the devotees of the Lord Shiva.
However, the trust had targeted to collect Rs 120 million this year from the special offering, said Dr Thapa.
Similarly, from interest on bank deposits from the special worship and offering by devotees’ collection, the PADT has earned only Rs 100 million out of its target of Rs 180 million
Altogether, the trust has borne losses of Rs 42 million from the income of other services of the temple.
Likewise, the Trust has earned Rs 700,000 from the donation box. However, the trust had aimed to earn Rs 10 million from the donation box, he added.
Furthermore, the PADT has earned Rs. 49 million from the interest of its deposits from the collection of other various income sources out of its target of Rs. 90 million.
Meanwhile, the trust has earned Rs 799,820 from parking lot though it had aimed to earn Rs 4 million from the service. The trust has collected Rs 30 million from the rented land of Guthi, Rs 80 million from entrance fees from tourists and Rs 3.5 million from mourning shelter.
Similarly, inn house income stand at Rs 3.5 million, Rs 2.6 from the rent and Rs 17 million by allowing to organise various religious activities.
Dr Pradeep Dhakal, member-secretary of PADT, said to recover the current losses, the trust had been trying to figure out new sources of income for the coming fiscal year.
Expressing his hopes, Dhakal, however, said the PADT would not face a problem to run the regular activities of Pashupati.
“The temple will be opened following the direction of the government. Now we are waiting for the government direction,” he said.
The trust has already stopped the service of mourning house and free meal distribution at Sumargi building owing to the fear of virus transmission due to the movement of people.