Another TTD priest succumbs to Covid-19, Subba Reddy silent on suspension of darshans

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After the former chief priest of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), Covid-19 has claimed the life of another priest.

45-year-old N V Srinivasacharylu succumbed to coronavirus at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) on Thursday after he was admitted to the hospital four days back.

Srinivasacharylu was recently deputed to Tirumala. Earlier, he was performing rituals at Sri Govindarajaswamy Temple in Tirupati. Srinivasacharylu is the second priest to have died to Covid-19.

Earlier, 75-year-old Srinivasa Murthy Deekshitulu died while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at SVIMS.

Veeraswamy, TTD employee, also on July 25 while undergoing treatment at SVIMS hospital. The family members of the deceased TTD employee alleged lack of proper treatment at the hospital.

At least 15 archakas working at Tirumala temple tested positive for COVID-19 and were shifted to Tirupati where they were admitted to various hospitals.

TTD Pedda Jeeyar Swamy Sri Satagopa Ramanuja Pedda Jeeyangar had recently tested positive for Covid-19 and was shifted to Apollo Hospital in Chennai.

Honorary chief priest and agama advisor Ramana Dikshitulu had earlier appealed to the TTD to close the shrine to devotees for a few weeks to protect the priests.

However, TTD Trust Board chairman Y V Subba Reddy on July 16 ruled out suspension of darshans while reacting to Deekshitulu’s tweet. While the Andhra Pradesh government had reimposed complete lockdown till August 15 in Tirupati, the TTD is yet to temporarily suspend Sri Vari ‘darshans’. Tirumala was exempted from complete lockdown despite the fact that several TTD employees, priests and devotees contracted the virus.

TTD’s adamant stand in not suspending ‘darshans’ came under sharp criticism, many commented that the TTD Trust Board was more interested in filling its coffers showing little or no concern to the devotees, priests or the TTD employees. TTD Trust Board chairman and EO remained silent on the temporary suspension of ‘darshans’ despite demand from various quarters.

TTD employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Saturday dashed off a strong letter to Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal demanding insurance to Covid-19 patients and compensation to those who succumbed to the infection.

In the letter, the TTD employees JAC pointed out that at least 250 staffers contracted the virus and all those who were infected should be given insurance protection. Further, the TTD employees JAC demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation to all the employees who succumbed to the infection

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