In a big move, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams board that manages 12 temples, including the richest Venkateswara Swamy temple at Tirumala, has decided not to allow any private eateries and restaurants in the hill-top temple town. Instead, it will set up many more free Anna Prasadam meal outlets and kiosks.
Those eateries that are being shut are being given the option of running other enterprises atop Tirumala.
The trust said it will try to meet with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray within a month to seek permission for land to build Srivari temple in Mumbai. It denied media reports that the Arjita seva tickets would be hiked.
After a board meeting on Thursday, the TTD said Rs 3,096 crore has been approved as budget for temple upkeep and related expenses for fiscal 2023. The TTD, an independent trust that manages a conglomeration of temples, has also taken several measures to ensure smooth functioning and make pilgrimage hassle-free.
TTD trust board Chairman YV Subba Reddy said as the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced across the country, and following government directives, it will resume “Arjita Sevas” and darshans that were stalled since March 2020.
The trust has approved the construction of a hospital for children as suggested by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy at a cost of Rs230 crore, the trust said in a statement after its board meeting.
A Rs 25-crore fund to give cashless treatment for TTD employees and pensioners at private hospitals will be set up, the board said.
The TTD maintains 12 temples and their sub-shrines and employs some 14,000 people. It also ensures facilities for the most-visited place of worship anywhere in the world. There are several charitable institutions such as hospitals and activities like free meals that it manages.