The issue was neglected by previous board members, says TTD chief
VIP darshan time to be cut to allow more common devoteesKarunakar Reddy announces more amenities for pilgrims
HYDERABAD: The much-publicised move to construct a ropeway from Alipiri to Tirumala seems to have been dropped going by the remarks made by TTD Chairman B. Karunakar Reddy.
Mr. Reddy, who was in the city, told reporters on Friday that plans had been prepared to construct a ropeway to facilitate easy movement of pilgrims to the temple town. Land to the tune of 110 acres was also given to the Tourism Department for construction of hotels, parks and other facilities.
The issue was neglected by the previous board members and no tenders were called. "When the issue has not been pursued earlier, why should the present board evince interest in it? We plan to ignore it completely," he said.
He said the TTD Board had decided to cut down the time for VIP darshan of Lord Venkateswara and instead allow more number of common devotees.
"We want to change the opinion that more time is allotted for VIP darshan and make Lord's abode accessible to more and more pilgrims," Mr. Karunakar Reddy said.
The TTD was pained at the plight of devotees, who failed to get proper accommodation and were forced to wait in serpentine queues for long hours to have darshan of the Lord.
Panel to be set up
"Presently, four to five hours are devoted for VIPs to provide darshan," he said, and added that if their time was brought down by even an hour, more than 3,000 pilgrims would benefit. Plans were afoot to constitute a committee to study the number of VIP letters being issued at different levels. "We are going to write letters to Ministers, MLAs and others to restrict issuing letters for VIP darshan and accommodation," he said.
He also announced a slew of measures for devotees like construction of dormitory providing accommodation for 10,000 pilgrims and two guesthouses-- Panchajanyam and Kausthaubham-- for 8,800 pilgrims. A nominal fee of Rs. 100-200 would be collected from pilgrims for the two guesthouses.
There was no plan to enhance the rates of laddu, which was available at Rs. 5 for the first one and Rs. 10 for subsequent ones, he added.
The TTD chief said the board as well as others had expressed strong reservation at the tele- serial, "Om Namo Venkatesaya Namah", after a preview last week. The producers were asked to make changes.