The famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara, which is visited by over 70,000 pilgrims on an average every day, on Tuesday wore a deserted look with State-owned APSRTC buses going off the road.
Employees of the corporation, which runs over 500 buses between Tirumala and Tirupati operating over 3,000 services every day, on Monday midnight joined the strike in line with the call given by the APNGOs demanding the reversal of the Centre’s decision of bifurcating the State.
As a result, vehicular traffic was thin on the Tirumala ghat roads.
A majority of devotees who reached Tirupati in the morning preferred trekking up the hill, while others engaged private vehicles paying hefty charges.
The impact was felt here with the temple number of pilgrims dropping sharply, the lowest in the last 30 years.
By evening there were only a few thousands of pilgrims in the darshan lines.
Devotees had a tough time as the 12,000 and odd strong workforce of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams also plunged into the agitation. The massive TTD administrative building at Tirupati, also referred to as “mini-secretariat,” wore a desolate look. Temple employees at Tirumala as well as at other TTD temples in the district besides employees associated with emergency services were exempted from taking part in the agitation.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy directed the TTD Executive Officer, M.G. Gopal, and the district Collector, Solomon Arokia Raj, to ensure that the pilgrims are not put to inconvenience.