TTD faces flak for using Jio domain for ticket bookings

TTD faces flak for selling Tirupati temple tickets using Jiomart web domain

Refuting the accusations of favoritism, TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said that services worth about Rs 3 crore were provided by Jio for free

File Photo of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy temple. Credit: DH Photo

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is facing criticism for operating the Lord Venkateshwara Swamy temple's special darshan tickets' online booking portal through a Jio-mart web domain.

The temple administration has on Friday morning released the Rs 300 Special Entry Darshan tickets quota of 8000 tickets per day for October.

Devotees who logged on tirupatibalaiji.ap.gov.in to book their tickets were redirected to tirupatibalaji.jiomart.com/login?flow=sed, leaving many aspirants confused. Several persons took the matter to social media platforms, with some suspecting it to be a scam.

However, TTD officials later clarified that they had engaged the services of Jio, an info-comm company of the Reliance group, to sort out the issues faced by the devotees during ticket bookings in the last two months.

The TTD ticket booking website, operated with the help of IT major TCS, was facing technical hiccups as millions of devotees were simultaneously logging in to book the tickets being released in limited numbers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To overcome the performance issues due to the inadequate capacity of the servers, the TTD had approached four tech firms possessing a powerful cloud management system - Amazon, Jio, Bookmyshow and Abhibus.

“While two of them expressed their inability to aid, one firm wanted payment. Jio was selected for the task earlier this month, as it has offered its services free of cost,” a TTD official told DH.

Jio deployed about 30 experts who operated 24X7 for the past three weeks to develop a new web portal in AWS environment, making it ready for quota release on 24 September. The app developed was thoroughly tested for security and performance. New payment gateways were introduced, officials said.

Refuting the accusations of favoritism, TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said that the cloud support and other services worth about Rs 3 crore were provided by Jio for free.

"We were able to overcome the technical issues and the tickets could be booked smoothly. However, devotees were redirected to Jiomart sub-domain from tirupatibalaiji.ap.gov.in website as the TTD sub-domain could not be created due to paucity of time, technical constraints. From next month's quota release onwards, Jiomart will not appear and the domain name will be tirupaitbalaji.ap.gov.in only,” Reddy said in a media statement.

YSRCP rebel MP Raghu Rama Krishna Raju has nevertheless faulted the Jaganmohan Reddy government and the TTD for “the fiasco.”

“TTD is barefacedly stating that it is selling Swamy darshan tickets through Jio shopping. Devotees are wondering if they would be directed to order Tirupati laddoos on Swiggy, Zomato like apps later on,” the Narasapuram Lok Sabha MP said.

Reddy and other TTD officials appealed to the Venkateshwara devotees “to ignore the baseless rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests, and continue to book tickets on the TTD official website only.”

The 2.4 lakh special darshan tickets allotted for October were booked in an hour on Friday morning, with the total hits on the website touching the one-crore mark. Technical issues marred the bookings in the opening hours.

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