The Christian CM led Andhra Pradesh government is on a spree extracting temple money from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam for government projects. It has demanded Rs.458 crores from the board for an expressway project worth Rs.684 crores.
The Andhra government is constructing an elevated expressway corridor to link Tirupati with other parts to make transport hassle free. The project supposedly aims to reduce traffic congestion for locals and offer hassle free travel for pilgrims. Estimated to cost around Rs.684 crores, this project is being funded by the TTD with Rs.458 crores.
In the name of development and infrastructure projects the YSRCP government has been fleecing TTD. Earlier Jagan Reddy government had amended the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Act to raise the contribution of TTD to Andhra government’s Common Good Fund. It was increased from Rs.2.5 crores to a whopping Rs.50 crores.
CGF is used for temples under the endowment board that do not earn much. The AP government website says it will be used for preservation, renovation of temples and to establish pathshalas. However if TTD can be made to give funds for non-religious purposes like building expressways, the government can use CGF for similar purposes.
It is to be noted that TTD claimed to have lost Rs.400 crore revenue during the lockdown period and said that it doesn’t have money to pay salary to its employees. It was given as a justification to sell off 50 properties later. However the move met with severe opposition and was dropped later. But now TTD seems to have a similar amount to spend on an expressway.
While many historical temples lie in neglect with their archakas not getting proper salary, the government uses backhanded methods to spend temple money for development projects. It is to be kept in mind that TTD chairman Subba Reddy is the maternal uncle of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy. By positioning their chamchas in TTD board the YSRCP government is finding new ways to misuse temple money.