DUSHANBE, January 30, Asia-Plus -- people in Tajikistan annually spend some US$300 million for carrying out religious rites and rituals and this amount is increasing year out, Tohir Rashidov, Deputy Chairman of Tajikistan’s Committee for Religious Affairs, told journalists on January 27.  

“Taking into consideration low living standards of the population it is not good,” Rashidov said, noting that in 2004 alone, people spent more than US$280 million for these purposes.  

According to him, at present the Committee is carrying out work among the population aimed at reduction of funds spent for carrying out various religious rites in the republic.

“Sometimes to carry out any rites and ceremonies people are getting into debts, and in order to pay off their debts they are forced to leave the country in search of seasonal works,” said Rashidov, adding that these funds could be go to rehabilitating roads, bridges, providing schools with computers, etc.