Thrissur Pooram’s future hangs in balance as impasse over ground fees continues

| Updated: 25 December, 2023 9:54 pm IST
Thrissur Pooram may face an obstacle (Photo: Social Media)

THRISSUR: Organisers of cultural extravaganza ‘Thrissur Pooram’, Thiruvambady and Paramekavu Devasom officials have now come to loggerheads with the Cochin Dewasom Board (CDB) over ground fees.

The CDB officials have illustrated that organisers have to pay Rs 2.2 crore as fees. However, they have disagreed on the payment, stating that the hefty sum is beyond their means and will not be feasible for them to pay up.

In 2023, the organising committee paid Rs 39 lakhs as the ground fee for Thrissur Pooram. Meanwhile, sources within the temple highlighted that the government had misguided the court regarding the fees collected from the land under the corporation’s purview.

 

“The Devaswom board is quoting an amount which is unbearable for us. Now the government has managed to misguide the court regarding the ground fee collected. The same corporation has collected a rent of Rs 25 lakhs from the organisers of a ‘Shopping festival’,” said the secretary of Paramekavu Devaswom, Rajesh.

He further questioned the government over disbalance in the amount collected, stating that other establishments and shops are being levied lower rents. “There are many other establishments and shops from whom relatively low rents are being collected. Why this kind of treatment towards a world-renowned festival like Thrissur Pooram which is indeed the pride of not just Kerala, but our country where people from all states, sects and religion are a part of”, he said.

Both the bodies have been conducting the festival together since 1796.

In 2023, three million people arrived at the temple premises to be a part of the festivities.

Top sources within the temple’s organising committee have accused a section of people and CDB officials of being forced to obey their ‘masters’ to torpedo the event.

 

During 2020 and 2021, the Thrissur Pooram was conducted as a low-key affair due to Covid-19 restrictions. Similar conditions were seen in 1963, when the festival was conducted as a low-key affair with only temple ceremonies being conducted owing to differences between the organisers and the CDB

The issue has now become political with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) terming it a conspiracy by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to tarnish the festival.

“The Devaswom board which is under the control of the state government is trying to control the private temple boards which has been organizing the Thrissur Pooram by imposing a ground fee which is exponentially high. This is highly condemnable and we will protest against such moves by the board”, said CG Rajagopal, a senior BJP leader from Ernakulam.

Devaswom minister K Radhakrishnan held a meeting to end the impasse over conducting the renowned Thrissur pooram in 2024. However, the meeting, attended by two cabinet ministers, did not lead to a resolution concerning the ground fees.

“The matter is currently in the High Court and let the court deliver a verdict and then we will decide on the next course of action. However, the government will never initiate any move to prevent the smooth conduct of the festival”, said K Radhakrishnan, the state Devaswom minister.

Thrissur Pooram, the grand festival was started during the times ‘Shakthan Thamburan’, the erstwhile king of the Cochin region in 1796.

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