Monday, January 6, 2014

Srirangam Temple, Trichy - Poor Management

We went to Srirangam Temple in Trichy, last week and had a horrible experience. My previous bad experience during a temple visit was in Tirupathi. I completely stopped going to Tirupathi after that. Srirangam ranks next in my list of "temples that you should not to go to".

(Also read: Ayyappan Temple in Trichy - The BEST that I've ever seen)

Here are some issues that I noticed during my visit to Srirangam Temple on 27-Dec-2013:
  1. Poor Crowd Management – No proper queue for people who opted for Rs.250 dharshan. People were dashing with each other and treated like buffaloes. There was no proper partitions or dividers for the queue. There was hardly any space to stand / breathe for people. Children and elderly people were finding it difficult since there was a stampede whenever the gates were opened.
  2. Poor Communication of the timings for Dharshan – People were let to stand in the queue for nearly 2 hours and then we were told that the Dharshan is closed. Different signboards / digital displays were communicating different timings. Temple authorities were conveying a different time and police managing the crowd were conveying different timings for Dharshan. People were totally confused.
  3. Irresponsible Temple Management & Police – When we insisted to meet the Temple Manager to file a complaint, nobody was willing to give his/her contact number. We were asked to go to the office to file a complaint. The folks in the office pretended that they did not belong to the temple and were not ready to accept the complaint. They did not even have a complaint form. They were not ready to call the Temple manager also. They asked us to go and search for him in the Temple. Police offered “No support” and were treating people with “arrogance”. None of the officials showed interest to either accept a complaint or solve our problems.
  4. Police / Temple Representatives / Poojaris focusing only on “Special VIPs” – When nearly 200+ people were standing in the Rs.250 dharshan and when nearly 500+ people were standing in Rs.50 & free dharshan queues, police / temple authorities / Poojaris were letting several VIPs to bypass the queue. In fact, many of them were not just VIPs. The people who were escorted to bypass the queue were either ordinary people who had “contacts” in the temple/police organization (or) people who gave cash to the workers. Most of the Poojaris & policemen were busy spending their time in escorting such VIPs. None of them were ready to listen to us. Nearly 75 people were let to bypass the queue, by officials.
The following are certain actions that the temple managers should do :
  1. Provide proper partitions & structures for queues – especially when they are charging Rs. 250 for a special dharshan.
  2. Install clear sign boards on the temple Dharshan Timings (the sign boards should not be contradicting each other). 
  3. Install clear sign boards on where tickets for special dharshan have to be bought. 
  4. Temple Manager & Asst Manager’s contact information should be publicly displayed 
  5. Complaint forms / box should be available & accessible in the temple for general public
  6. Punish government employees who are escorting people other than REAL VIPs such as MLAs & MPs. 
  7. Sensitivise and train public servants about the need to patiently listen to “public” and the need to “serve” people without displaying their arrogance/power.

After making a lot of protest, I wrote a complaint letter and got signatures from nearly 30 people who went through the hardships on 27-Dec-2013. Immediately after returning back from the trip, I filed a complaint online in CM Online Grievances Registration Cell & in Hindu Religious Endowment website. To my surprise, I got a call immediately the next day from Mr. Raja Additional Commissioner, Hindu Religious Charitable Endowments Department. They officially registered the complaint and requested the Joint Commissioner for Srirangam Temple to take action. I also got a confirmation receipt for my online petition / complaint.

I was positively surprised by the pace at which the administrators of Hindu Religious Endowment website responded to my complaint. I'm hoping that they'll take the proper action too, to set things right at Srirangam Temple, in Trichy.

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