The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) urban and district units organised a massive “Giri Pradakshina” (circumambulation) of Indrakeeladri, the abode of goddess Kananadurga, on Monday in protest against what the party leaders described as a potential danger to the lives of lakhs of pilgrims due to the flawed engineering works.
TDP leaders and cadres participated in huge numbers in the protest, with folk artistes dressed as demons and gods demonstrating the intensity of the problem.
They raised slogans during the circumambulation, saying leaders of the ruling Congress should be held responsible for any future mishaps due to faulty works.
The protest rally led to a major traffic jam on Canal Road for sometime with the police finding it difficult to clear it till the TDP cadres moved forward.
TDP district president and MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, former MP Gadde Rammohan and other leaders said that nobody in the ruling party seemed interested in ensuring quality of works related to the temple so that there was no inconvenience or danger to pilgrims.
For the coming Dasara Navaratri celebrations, lakhs of pilgrims would come from different parts of the country but the Government did not seem to care for their safety.
Mr. Umamaheswara Rao alleged that there was a large-scale corruption in the construction of retaining wall as evident from the fact that the wall was showing cracks and its blocks were coming off. “They (contractors) are planning to claim Rs. 5.5 crore for the work.
Already a part of the amount has been taken. But very little work has been done here and it is a matter of great concern to the safety of pilgrims,” he said.
Former mayor Panchumarthi Anuradha, party urban leaders Nagul Meera, Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, Budhha Venkanna and others addressed the protesters. They said that corruption resulted in substandard quality in construction of retaining wall, roads and drains, laddu making and various other aspects of temple administration, for which the Congress leaders were totally to blame.
Mr. Gadde Rammohan demanded that the Government constitute a specified authority on the lines of the one constituted for the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams so that there was some hope left for the pilgrims.
He lamented that things had worsened like never before in the past six years with the Congress leaders resorting to corruption in every work related to the temple.
The leaders that participated in the protest included MLAs Dasari Balavardhana Rao (Gannavaram), Jayamangala Venkataramana (Kaikaluru), Chinnam Ramakotaiah (Nuzvid), Tangirala Prabhakar Rao (Nandigama), MLC Y.V.B. Rajendra Prasad and other leaders Kagitha Venkata Rao, N. Swamy Das, Kollu Ravindra, Ch. Ramanujaya, B. Arjunudu and S. Ravindra Varma.