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Andhra Pradesh: Hereditary Archakas yet to get fair deal
- Hereditary Archaka Scheme notification issued on Oct 22 last year, but priests are yet to receive the benefits
- As the GO remains on paper, many archakas are forced to retire with the minimum wage of Rs 17,625 a month, and house sites are not provided to the archakas working in 6C temples
Tirupati: Though one year has passed after the government published the notification for the implementation of Hereditary Archaka Scheme (HAS), it has still remained unimplemented.
The notification was issued after a prolonged fight by the hereditary archakas to protect their interests, including ensuring the hereditary right to archakatvam (priest service), exemption from the retirement age, emoluments and other benefits but the archakas are yet to receive the fruits of the GO issued on October 22, 2019.
It was pertinent to note that the YSRCP included the demands of hereditary archakas in its election manifesto and issued the notice after several rounds of talks between the endowments officials and archaka representatives, after it came to power.
There are about one lakh hereditary archakas working in around 23,000 temples. In the state, the temples come under various categories, including 6A, 6B and 6C under endowments department.
With the government order still remaining unimplemented in the temples where HAS is applicable, many archaks were forced to retire with the minimum wage of Rs 17,625 per month fixed by the government and house sites were not provided to the archakas working in 6C temples.
The other benefits like honours, registration of nominees, etc., are also pending due to delay in implementing the HAS, even after several rounds of discussion with the representatives of of hereditary archakas.
The archakas seek the intervention of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for implementing HAS and other benefits as endowments officials were dragging their feet on the subject.
Former chief secretary I Y R Krishna Rao urged the state government to implement the HAS immediately to provide succour to thousands of poor archaks in the state.