Bhandaris protest PADT’s regulations

KATHMANDU: Bhandaris (caretakers) of the Pashupatinath Temple protested on the third day today demanding that the recently enforced Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) regulation be amended.

The new regulation that came into effect on Monday requires the bhattas (priests) and the bhandaris of the temple to compulsorily register all the offerings in both cash and kind with the PADT.

Earlier, there was no provision of keeping the record of the donations and offerings.

“We agree to make everything transparent but the regulation must be amended,” said Hari Sharan Rajbhandari, one of the bhandaris.

Rajbhandari said their protest would continue until the new law was amended.

The new regulation provisions Rs 250 per month to each of the bhandaris, Rs 1,000 in allowance to the elderly; Rs 100,000 to the chief bhandari and Rs 25,000 to two assistants in their monthly rotation. There are 109 bhandaris at the temple, each getting his turn to take charge once in 12 years. Salary for the bhattas has also been specified.

A talk held between the bhandaris and the PADT officials today ended inconclusive.

Another round of talks has been scheduled for 5:00 pm tomorrow.