HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA, March 7, 2015 (Hindustan Times): The Himachal Pradesh government is making a fresh bid to mobilize cash-stashed temples in the state to monetize their gold and silvering offerings, lying idle in the vaults. Taking a cue from Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu, Himachal government's department of language, art and culture amended a legislation three years ago, allowing temple managements to melt gold and silver ornaments to turn them into souvenirs and allow its sale to devotees visiting the shrines.
The state government aims to bring an estimated six quintal (one quintal is 100 kilos) of gold and 200 quintal of silver lying idle with temples others into the financial system in return for a regular interest payout and the market-linked appreciation value. So far, the response from the temples has remained lukewarm. Temple managements fear loss of precious metal during the purification process and melting of ornaments donated by devotees may hurt religious sentiments.