THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, March 1, 2012 (Times of India): The inventorying of valuables in the vaults of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple has hit an unexpected roadblock: the expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court could not find enough qualified gemologists to assess the worth of precious stones stored there.
Of the three gemologists working in the department of mining and geology, whose services were sought, one is a woman, the other a non-Hindu and the third is currently preoccupied elsewhere. While the last obstacle could probably be remedied, temple customs and rituals categorically rule out the first two. Sources said the stock taking of valuables in the vaults was stopped temporarily as the committee could not decide how to solve this crisis. "There are only three experienced officials in the department. One is a woman and the other a Christian male. The third person, the only Hindu male, is currently part of the Kerala mineral squad and his services need to be relieved from there for engaging in the temple assignment," a source said.
For carrying out inventorying in a time-bound manner, at least five gemologists need to be in the team. Given the limited choice before the expert committee, it looks like they would have to rope in retired directors of the department of mining and geology who have the necessary qualification in gemology. Another option is to train the Hindu male geologists in the department in gemology and use their services.