Continuous protest by Seemaandhra supporters against decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh has upset the travel plans of devotees from North Andhra to the hill shrine at Tirumala.
With no solution in sight for the protests triggered by the decision of the Congress Working Committee, the devotees, who generally plan their visit to Tirumala for darshan of Lord Balaji well in advance, are resorting to last-minute cancellation.
Some of the pilgrims, who returned to the city after visiting Tirumala, said they had easy darshan of Lord Venkateswara but termed the inconvenience caused to them due to the near total strike at various places as ‘very painful.’
“We generally go to fulfil our vow. The bandh call notwithstanding I visited Tirumala but after returning to Tirupati I found all the ATMs as well as medical shops and petrol bunks closed on Friday. It is shocking that the authorities did not take steps to ensure that the essential services are not affected due to the protest. I had to go all the way to Tirumala to draw some cash as found one ATM at Srinivasam complex and six ATMs at railway reservation complex closed,” said Pravin Kumar, an NRI from the Middle East.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has also suffered loss of income the worst losers being the eateries, hotels and taxi owners. Tirumala which is always crowded with thousands of devotees from all over the country is for a change, witnessing a deserted look.
Though the rail services remained unaffected except delays due to detention by protesters at some places, the local bus services in Chittoor district are being withdrawn with the RTC employees joining the strike demanding united State.
“Due to the confusion, I don’t want to take the risk of going to Tirumala with my family. I have decided to finalise my trip once peace is restored,” Pavan Seth, a businessman said.