Lord Venkateswara’s hill shrine on Tuesday wore a deserted look with 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 a call given by the APNGOs demanding the reversal of the Centre’s decision to bifurcate the State.

Vehicular traffic was thin on the ghat roads and a majority of devotees preferred trekking up, while others engaged private vehicles, paying hefty charges.

The drop in the number of pilgrims was the lowest in the last 30 years.

By evening, there were only a few thousands in the darshan lines.

The shrine is visited by over 70,000 pilgrims every day.

Devotees had a tough time as about 12,000 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. Employees of the Tirumala shrine as well as those of other TTD temples in the district, besides employees associated with emergency services, were exempted from taking part in the agitation.

CM’s directive

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy directed TTD Executive Officer M.G. Gopal and District Collector Solomon Arokia Raj to ensure that pilgrims are not put to inconvenience.