Siddhivinayak temple is considering the idea of investing a portion of its gold reserves in the Gold Monetisation Scheme launched by the Centre.
The proposal will be discussed at a meeting of the temple board soon. If approved by the trustees, it would be submitted to the state government for clearance, a top temple official said today.
"We have 160 kgs of Gold in our reserves right now, out of which 10 kg is already deposited with the State Bank of India at an annual interest of 1 per cent. We are now contemplating proper utilisation of these gold ornaments, for which no bidder came forward," Narendra Rane, Chairman of Siddhivinayak temple Trust told PTI.
The temple located at Prabhadevi in the heart of the city is visited by thousands of devotees from all over the country and abroad, many of whom make rich offerings to the the shrine including gold.
Normally, we conduct three to four rounds of auction of the ornaments. But despite periodical auctioning, we are still left with some stock, he said.
"We would definitely discuss what to do with this (gold) in our next Board meeting and a suitable decision would be taken accordingly," Rane said, adding, "its possible that we invest it in the Gold Monetisation Scheme."
According to experts, the Trust, however, will have to follow certain procedures before taking a decision as the temple is governed under the Law and Judiciary department of the Maharashtra Government.
A senior temple official, requesting anonymity said, "Before making any sort of investment under any scheme, there is a laid down procedure by the state government and we have to follow it. Currently, the process of melting the leftover ornaments is underway." "When this procedure is over, then there would be valuation of the reserved gold and it would be put forth before the board.
Then board would forward its proposal to the state government for nod, after which the way for the investment could be cleared," he said. U P Singh, a former member of the Temple Trust, said if the management decides to invest its reserved gold, then it would be "the perfect way" of utilising the temple's wealth for the benefit of the poor and needy.
"This is the wealth donated by devotees to serve the needy and depositing the money in government scheme will be a win- win situation for all the stakeholders. It will generate cyclical money in temple's exchequer and also popularise the scheme," said Singh, adding that other rich temples across the country that have huge stockpile of gold at their disposal may follow suit.
On November 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched three gold schemes -- sovereign gold bonds, monetisation and gold coin scheme. They were forumulated with a view to discourage physical possession or dealings in the bullion thereby bringing down the import of the yellow metal which last year stood at 1,000 tonnnes.
The maiden Gold Bond scheme, which was a success considering the limited period offer with the government mopping up Rs 246 crore while the monetisation scheme is yet to evoke a big response.