Staff Reporter

Move amounts to hurting Hindu sentiments: Dattatreya

Views of religious heads not consideredTTD blamed for yielding to pressureBJP to take up signature campaign across State

TIRUPATI: The Bharatiya Janata Party is of the view that the Government's approval for the Tirumala ropeway project, despite mounting pressure from the public and the various religious heads, would amount to "hurting the Hindu sentiments."

The party seems to be unable to digest the decision that closely followed an assurance from the Chief Minister himself to its delegation that a final nod would be given only after consulting all the people concerned.

BJP secretary Bandaru Dattatreya has taken serious exception to Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy announcing the decision by keeping everyone, including the saints and pontiffs, in the dark.

Seeing no religious backing for YSR's "unilateral" decision, the senior BJP leader alleged that the nod was given only with an eye on commissions from the project executors. He brushed aside the claims of eco-friendliness and landslips at Tirumala as excuses to bulldoze his decision.

Decision questioned

At a media conference here on Tuesday, Mr.Dattatreya wanted to know as to which Peethadhipathi or mutt head was consulted by YSR before the major decision was taken.

"When Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar, the Kanchi Mutt and Sarada Peetham heads have given in writing that the ropeway is not in the best interests of keeping the hills sacrosanct, how can the Government rub it on the Hindus," he asked.

However, he added that he had no objection if the pontiffs themselves openly welcomed the move.

He also faulted the relegation of Endowments Department to the backseat and handing over of control to the Tourism Corporation to take up steps to provide entertainment on the sacred hills.

Taking a cue from thousands of e-mails claimed to be in circulation on the web in protest against the decision, he announced that the party would take up a signature campaign at the State level.

Blames TTD Board

Taking up cudgels against the TTD Trust Board for having lost its autonomy by buckling under pressure, he demanded that the board, replete with political faces, be dissolved and the reins handed over to a 'Dharma Parishat' comprising saints. On the reported move to amend the TTD Act, Mr.Dattatreya warned the Government not to meddle with the premier Hindu institution, just to make use of Rs.100 crores from the coffers of the temple.

He sought to know if it was proper to divert the TTD funds to TUDA for laying roads or setting up veterinary and medical varsities in Tirupati.

He blamed YSR for not visiting Amaravati even once to supervise the arrangements for the "Kalachakra," while keeping himself busy in sprucing up the capital for the Congress plenary, which, he said, smacked of "lopsidedness."

He wanted the security in Amaravati to be beefed up, ahead of the visit of the Dalai Lama.