AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is responsible for the upkeep of majority of Gurdwaras located across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This means, it also gets to control all donations received at these Gurdwaras. A typical ‘golak’ donation averages from Rs. 10 to 100 depending on the Gurdwara. At Sri Harmandir Sahib, the average is close to Rs. 1,000.
The recent demonetization of all Rupees 500 & 1,000 notes in circulation across India from November 9 onwards by the Union Government has put the SGPC in a difficult situation. While the move was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a step to curb black money and terror funding, the SGPC has to invent new ways to ensure its donations are now compliant with the latest law.
Sikh24 asked the SGPC Chief Secretary what’s it going to do with the parchis (slang word used for small currency notes) which are put in the golak boxes by devotees everyday.
“At this point, not only are we having to deal with the issue on upgrading donations to new currency requirements, we are dealing with a difficult situation as most of our Gurdwaras have not even deposited donations from the past year,” Harcharan Singh told SIkh24.
The demonetization has put the SGPC into worry since the cash from golak boxes in all Sikh shrines are opened at specific time intervals. Nearly 100,000 visit the sanctum sanctorum Sikh shrine Sri Harmandir Sahib daily and the donate in large amounts using 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
Talking with Sikh24, Chief Secretary of SGPC Harcharan Singh informed that all the managers of SGPC affiliated Gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh have been directed to not accept the notes of 500 & 1,000 in donations. He added that the SGPC run institutions have also been directed to avoid cash in higher denominations of 500 & 1,000. “It’s a tough move, but currency notes lower than 1,000 mean nothing for us. They are good for scrap paper,” he said.
He maintained that the devotees can’t be controlled from putting old notes in donation boxes which is a big worry for SGPC. “We would have to certify before depositing the cash that the money was withdrawn from ‘Golak’ or call the Bank personnel at the time of opening ‘Golaks’ to make them trust our statement,” he added.
Chief Secretary Harcharan Singh said that it was tough for SGPC to make denomination notes valid within period of 50 days.