Special Correspondent

Website on temple properties to be launched on

October 2

HYDERABAD: The government is planning to appoint appraisers for temples in the State to ensure safe custody of jewellery and other valuables of deities in strong-rooms and be accountable for their upkeep with a periodical assessment of their value.

The plan is to make these appraisers responsible in case of any misuse or disappearance of jewellery and valuables from the strong-rooms. The government has rather been forced to consider appointment of appraisers following the recent incidents in which an archaka mortgaged jewellery of Sri Kodandarama Swamy temple at Tirupati, and the jewellery of Sri Sivarama Kshetram at Vijayawada were found missing from lockers of a bank.

Endowments Minister G. Venkata Reddy told this correspondent here on Tuesday that the appraisers were available now only for the Tirumala shrine and 28 other temples around Tirupati, all under the administrative control of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD).

He said a policy decision to appoint appraisers at all the major temples, to begin with, would be taken in the next few days when modalities would be worked out for recruitment, prescribing qualifications and eligibilities for candidates.

Mr. Venkata Reddy said a minimum security would be available to the jewellery and valuables of all the estimated 36,000 temples in the State from October 2 when an Endowments Department’s website would be launched containing complete details of these. The website would establish transparency before public for the first time by providing details of not only gold/silver jewellery and other ornaments but also daily hundi collections, lands, fixed deposits in banks in the name of the temples and accruals of other revenues like monthly rent/lease amounts.

VIP darshan

The Minister said a policy decision would be taken soon to allow VIP darshans at Tirumala “as a rule and privilege” in case of elected representatives like MPs, MLAs and MLCs, besides ministers, to end once and for all, the present criticism against such darshans.