Annaprasadam for all at Tirumala
- TTD decides to close private eateries and restaurants
- TTD to resume all Arjitha sevas soon; denies hike in seva tickets
- Free Annaprasadam kiosks to be set up at all major junctions
- Existing hotels, eateries will be given permits to run other enterprises
Tirumala: The Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams trust board has decided to do away with all private eateries and restaurants in Tirumala. The board feels that all devotees from ordinary to Prime Minister should eat the same food and wants to expand the free distribution of 'Annaprasadam' on a massive scale to pilgrims. This would be another step towards equality, it feels.
Briefing the media after the meeting on the decisions taken by the trust board YV Subba Reddy said food should not be on payment basis in Tirumala, but should be provided free of cost to all visiting pilgrims. Free Annaprasadam outlets and kiosks will be set up by the TTD management at all major junctions.
The existing hotels and eateries will be given permission to enable them to run other enterprises at Tirumala for livelihood. However, the question is what would happen to devotees who come from other parts of the country. The hotels and eateries at Tirumala at present are catering to their requirements.
The TTD also decided to sign a MoU with NEDCAP for the supply of a solar power steam system for 25 years. The power from NEDCAP would be used for preparing Annaprasadam at Sri Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba Anna Prasadam Bhavan.
Subba Reddy said as the intensity of the Covid pandemic came down it proposes to restore the Arjita Sevas soon. These sevas would be on payment basis. The number of Slotted Sarva Darshan (SSD) tokens for free darshan for pilgrims reaching Tirumala by foot will also be increased.
Referring to reports that the TTD would hike the price of Arjitha sevas, Subba Reddy said that no such decision was taken. However, media channels have been saying that the rates of Arjitha seva tickets would be hiked by 10 to 20 times. For example, the Veda Asirwachanam which used to cost Rs 2,500 would be increased to Rs 10,000. Similarly, the rates of Suprabhata Seva would be Rs 2,000, Tomala Seva Rs 2,500 and Kalyanotsvam Rs 2,500 and so on.
He said Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy will lay the foundation stone for a new building of Sri Padmavati Children's Hospital (Hrudayalaya) at a cost of Rs 230 crore. Robotic machines and advanced equipment will be provided to the hospital.
Another major decision, he said, was to provide Rs 150 crore to the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) for the Srinivasa Sethu (Garuda Varadhi) flyover under construction. The TTD contribution of Rs 350 crore for the project has been pending for long.
The TTD decided to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister within a month for the finalization of land allotment for construction of Sri Venkateswara temple and Information Centre in Mumbai.
The other decisions include taking up feasibility study for gold plating of Tirumala temple Maha Dwaram, Bangaru Vakili and Gopuram, setting up of a Rs 25-crore trust fund for cashless treatments for TTD employees and pensioners at corporate hospitals.