Samaikyandhra agitation hits Tirumala income

Samaikyandhra agitation hits Tirumala income

The daily hundi (offerings box) collection at the famous Lord Venkateshwara temple in Tirumala has taken a hit in the past one month due to the Samaikyandhra agitation against the Centre’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh (AP).

A senior Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) officer said: “In August last year the total income from hundi was Rs 78 crore, this August it has come down to Rs 62 crore. Special darshan priced at Rs 300 earned Rs 12.65 crore for the TTD last year at the rate of Rs 1 crore per month, while it is a mere Rs 12 lakhs in August this year. The number of pilgrims having darshan was 23 lakhs in August last year, while it is only 19.5 lakhs this August, indicating a considerable decline attributed to the agitation.” The weekend collection has dropped to between Rs 1.6 crore and Rs 2 crore a day from about Rs 2 crore to Rs 2.5 crore, indicating a decline in the employed pilgrims’ category.

However, TTD has no data on daily offerings of gold, silver and other precious items such as diamonds as they will only be counted later. The TTD counts the cash collection on a daily basis. The calculation of the non-cash items happens once in three months or at the TTD’s convenience.

The Seemandhra region has been in the grip of bandhs and protests since the decision to bifurcate AP was announced in July. With the APSRTC employees also on strike, bus facilities to the temple town has been affected, resulting in a drop of pilgrims from 60,000 to 40,000 per day.

For the first time in the 80- year history of the TTD, its staff also participated in the agitation. The 10,000-plus TTD workforce took out a massive rally on Friday. Over 5,000 employees went on mass leave. The students and faculty members of various TTD-run educational

institutions also took part in the rally.