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ENS | Visakhapatnam | June 2, 2017:: The daily rituals at around 1,200 temples in the three districts of North Andhra (Uttarandhra) region are likely to be hit for three days as the priests have decided to go on a strike from June 6, seeking solutions to their long-pending demands
Nearly 1,200 priests (archakas) are working at the 6B and 6C category temples under the purview of endowments department in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts at present. All of them are going to participate in the three-day strike under the aegis of Uttaraandhra Archaka Sangham. The Archaka Sangham says that several issues of the priests, despite being brought to the notices of the successive governments, remain unsolved for decades. It has served the strike notice to assistant endowments commissioners, deputy commissioners, commissioner and the minister concerned.
Uttarandhra Archaka Sangham leader Veluri Srinivasa Deekshitulu says that the North Andhra region has around 2,780 temples under Endowments Act 6B (with annual income between `2 lakh to `25 lakh) & 6C (temples having below `2 lakh income) category.
Irrespective of the annual income, he said, the endowments staffers -clerks, managers and executive officers-are getting high salaries as per the Pay revision Committee recommendation. “We have been tight lipped though injustice meted out to us, hoping that one day the government would consider our pleas. We have conducted revenue division wise meetings across the region with local priests and Brahmin associations and etc before deciding on this protest,” he says.The priests have put forth 24 demands before the government including implementation of 2010 PRC wages to all eligible temple priests, salary and DA based on service periods, CGF, IAF and stoppage of audit payments from endowments income and welfare of temples staff.
Giving details about the stir, he says the priests will stage a Maha Dharna in front of the Endowments Deputy Commissioner’s office in Vizag. In case of no response, a ‘Chalo- Visakha Collectorate’ programme will be organised on June 21 which will continue for a week. The Sangham will organise an ‘Archaka Maha Sabha’ on June 28 in which thousands of priests from across the state will take part. “We are open for talks. If our demands are conceded, we may give a though to our agitation plans,” Sangham general secretary Kothalanka Muralikrishna says.
Implementation of 2010 PRC wages to all eligible temple priests, salary and DA based on service periods, CGF, IAF and stoppage of audit payments from endowments income and welfare of temples staff.