G.P. Shukla

TIRUMALA: The TTD management is contemplating setting up a gemmology laboratory with all modern facilities at the hill temple of Lord Venkateswara.

The main intention behind the setting up of the laboratory is to assess and ascertain the quality, carat measurement, weight and other profiles of gold and diamond-studded precious ornaments in its possession.

The abode of Lord Venkateswara, which is believed to be the richest temple on the planet has several ‘quintals’ of gold and diamond studded articles, besides tonnes of silver articles stacked in its coffers and the value of which is yet to be properly ascertained.

The ‘Thiruvabharanam’ register being maintained by the temple authorities in the event of receipt of precious articles merely contains the name of the donors, date of donation and the nature of the article.

The register does not have any value-based accounts of the donated articles.

Though several donors produce the cost-receipt of the article, many either wish to remain anonymous or submit an under-valued receipt. Further adding to the woes the temple management does not have qualified gemmologists and full-time jewellery appraisers for estimating the original cost of the donated jewels or updating the value of the existing ornaments.

The setting up of the laboratory is a sequel to the High Court directions.