Nearly 2,500 odd people associated with the 108 doul-devalayas in Assam have gone broke in the around 60-day COVID-19 lockdown.
The hapless peoole are looking up to the State Government and have appealed for a help in tune to Rs 3,000 each per month with effect from April so that they can fulfill their basic necessities.
Sources said each of the 108 doul-devalayas in Assam has 20-25 people associated, including priests.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, all these people have been badly affected as they have no other sources of income.
Sadou Asom Devalaya Sangha (SADS) secretary general Kailash Sarma said, “All the members of the Sangha have lended their cooperation with the government on the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown.”
“Each of the devalayas in the State performs at least five different pujas yearly. However, all pujas leading to gathering of devotees are banned now,” he added.
“We’re set to give even Ambubachi Mela slated from June 22-26, 2020 a miss this year. Such pujas are the sources of income for devalayas. I’m associated with Ugratara Devalaya. Rs 3-4 lakh in cash comes as donations to the devalaya yearly,” he also said.
“In kinds, rice, dal, gram etc are being donated to the devalaya which run for around ten months. The salaries of the priests and other employees of devalayas come from such donations,” he added.
He further said, “We have already appealed to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to devise a plan to open devalayas allowing only 20-30 devotees to visit daily under specific guidelines.”
“We also appeal to the government to pay each of us Rs 3,000 per month with effect from April so that we can run our families, ” he added.