Temple employees’ demand revised wages

Family members, retired staff stage protests to mark 27th anniversary of court verdict

Hundreds of employees of the Malabar Devaswom Board on Wednesday observed protests in front of temples, houses and public places to mark the 27th anniversary of the verdict of the Kerala High Court ordering the State government to address the plight of the temple employees in north Kerala.

The protests were organised under the aegis of the Kerala State Temple Employees Coordination Committee. Family members, retired employees and well-wishers of the employees also took part in the protests.

Approximately, 7,000 employees are attached to 1,339 temples and 800-odd minor temples in the five divisions of Kasaragod, Thalassery, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Palakkad.

Based on a report in The Hindu, the High Court of Kerala had initiated suo motu proceeding in 1992. The report had highlighted the poor living conditions of the employees and the pathetic state of affairs of the temples in the Malabar region.

Two years later, the court ordered a reasonable income for the temple employees and set up a Malabar Devaswom Management Fund.

Coordination committee convener V.V. Sreenivasan said that the State-level inauguration was held in front of the Cherukunnu Sree Annapoorneswary Temple in Kannur district in the morning.

He said that the employees, who had staged an indefinite strike from November 1 last, ended their protest after 64 days following an assurance from the newly appointed Malabar Devaswom Board president M.R. Murali and former Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran that the wages of the employees would be revised.

Though the pact reached between the employees and authorities was notified, Mr. Sreenivasan said that none of the agreements, including revision of wages was implemented until now. Also, the Malabar Devaswom Comprehensive Amendment Bill was still pending with the State government, he said.

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