The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), custodian of the globally renowned Lord Venkateswara temple, on Saturday condemned a section of media houses for publishing fake news of the temple body and creating confusion among devotees.
“A section of media tried to create confusion among devotees,” said a TTD official and termed those media reports as void of facts.
He clarified and asserted that TTD did not cease any free services in Tirumala and brought more details.
According to the temple body, there were 176 counters in Tirumala prior to March 2020, issuing laddus (consecrated sweet), darshan (visit) tokens, SSD counters, SED counters and Alipiri toll gate counter.
“Out of which 86 were operated by Trilok, 40 by various banks, 18 laddu sevaks, and 29 by FM agencies. While Trilok withdrew its services even before March 2020, other banks also gave up as it involved cash transactions. Similar was the case with laddu sevaks,” said the official.
However, currently, only two banks are running 16 counters, which are also putting pressure on TTD that they will withdraw.
“At this juncture, to give more transparent services to devotees, TTD has called for tenders which took place in a transparent manner,” he noted.
He said KVM Info from Bengaluru quoted the lowest bid at Rs 11,402 per shift per counter against the previous value of Rs 12,345, excluding GST in both cases.
Further, TTD has reduced the number of counters from 176 to 164 as per requirement and even introduced deploying personnel on rotation basis by alternating staff once every two months, aimed at avoiding scope for misappropriation.
“When TTD is taking decisions and implementing them for the good of pilgrims, it is sad that a section of media is trying to malign the image of TTD among the devotees with their negative reports,” he highlighted.
Similarly, he alleged that some people with ulterior motives are attempting to play games with the sentiments of devotees and called it unethical.
On Friday, former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu shared a Telugu daily’s report and alleged that the sacredness of TTD is being compromised by handing over charge of various works to private firms, sidelining those who used to offer free services earlier.