Rs.7.20 crore provided towards building 144 temples in backward areas in 2011-12

In a major initiative, aimed at preserving temples and propagating spiritualism, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) have floated Sri Venkateswara Heritage Preservation Trust.

The Trust provides financial assistance for construction of new temples as well as renovation of temples in dilapidated condition, particularly those located in the Dalitwadas, Girjanwadas and fishermen colonies.

The Trust supplies stone and panchaloha idols of Lord Venkateswara and his consort Padmavathi at subsidised prices to the temples on request. For temples located in Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and fishermen colonies, it makes such supplies at 90 per cent subsidy. In the case of supplies to temples in general areas, a subsidy of 75 per cent is provided. Mutts, ashrams and educational institutions get 50 per cent subsidy for such supplies.

Financial assistance

TTD Executive Officer L.V. Subramanyam claimed that in 2011-2012 alone, the TTD provided a financial assistance of Rs.7.20 crore for construction of 144 temples in SC, ST, fishermen colonies and backward areas in Andhra Pradesh.

Facelift

It had also launched a scheme to give a facelift to temples which were over 100 years old. Under this scheme, Rs.25 lakh was being provided to each identified temple. One-fourth of the expenditure was to be met by the trustees of the temples concerned.

In its annual budget for 2012-13, the TTD had decided to provide Rs.10 lakh for the construction of temples in hamlets, out of which Rs.7.7 lakh would be for temple construction, Rs.1.5 lakh for erection of the compound wall and Rs.80,000 towards the idols.

In the last financial year, the TTD supplied as many as 829 stone idols, worth about Rs.1.59 crore, and 352 panchaloha idols, valued at Rs.77.64 lakh, to temples across the country.

Equipment

For propagation of spiritualism in society, it had supplied 663 mike sets, worth about Rs.72.84 lakh to temples in villages. Even the traditional ‘temple umbrellas' were being supplied at 50 per cent subsidy to shrines on request.

“Protecting heritage”

“It is the primary responsibility of the TTD to protect our temples, which are symbols of our culture, heritage, ethos and values,” said Mr. Subramanyam.