The historic treasure trove discovered recently at the Sri Padmnabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram is worth $US22 billion at latest assessment and not all the vaults have been opened. The value of the treasure, amassed over 600 years as offerings to the god Vishnu, may be as great as $US30 billion and possibly higher.
The find is a security nightmare for the temple trust and the southern state of India – Kerala. Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani announced in the state Assembly that Kerala government would allocate Rs 1 crore (US 0.226 million) for temple security.
“We will take care of the complete expenses to provide fool proof security. All of us are proud of this temple and it is our duty to safeguard it,” added Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Media reports said that the Kerala police is gearing up for perhaps the biggest security challenge in recent history. The Kerala police will submit a report on a permanent security system of the temple to the Chief Minister, which then will be forwarded to the Supreme Court.
Chandy has said that the government will not seek the assistance of Central forces now and the state police is capable of handling the situation.
Top police sources have said that the recommendations are to declare the 500-metre radius around the temple as a ‘temple zone’ along the lines of the Sabarimala shrine and the Sri Balaji temple at Tirupati. No shops will be allowed in this space.
A recommendation has also been made to put barbed wires surrounding the temple with high voltage lighting. Over three battalions of the Kerala Armed Police and commandos trained by the NSG have already been deployed. The final security system will be put into place only after the Supreme Court gives the nod.
The court has also asked the former Travancore royal family, who are the trustees of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, and the Kerala government to give suggestions on the security, conservation and preservation aspects of the temple and the treasure recovered.
Travancore royal family’s senior member King Marthanda Varma informed the Supreme Court that he had no claim on the treasure found as it belonged to the god.