Vaikuntam complex turns corridor for corruption

Middlemen, with the help of staffers of the hill shrine, are making hay by allowing devotees for a faster darshan illegally

November 27, 2013 10:42 am | Updated November 08, 2016 02:12 am IST - Tirumala:

Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati, 28 Sep 2011:

A view of the illuminated Sri Venkateswara swamy temple at Tirumala, ahead of the annual ‘Srivari Brahmotsavams’ beginning on Thursday. (Photo: KV Poornachandra Kumar)

Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati, 28 Sep 2011: A view of the illuminated Sri Venkateswara swamy temple at Tirumala, ahead of the annual ‘Srivari Brahmotsavams’ beginning on Thursday. (Photo: KV Poornachandra Kumar)

The massive Vaikuntam queue complexes which serve as cosy waiting foyers for the devotees thronging the hill shrine have turned into a safe haven for corrupt staff.

The colossal structures of late have not only transformed themselves into a magic place for making fast bucks, but also an experimental field to test fraudulent designs. The fact that over 60,000 pilgrims pass through these complexes every day for the darshan of the deity speaks as to how expugnable both the centres are to try dishonest practices.

Sensing the vulnerability to which the staffs working at the centres are prone the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) management has imposed several restrictions and has brought in several changes in the darshan pattern, queue line management besides enhancing the surveillance.

The entire exercises are periodically undertaken with the sole attention of curbing corrupt practices.

Every time the management endeavours plugging the loopholes, the ‘highly-connected’ middlemen come out with a nefarious design and thwart the efforts of the administration in maintaining a corrupt-free system, reportedly by luring the staff working at the centres.

With the management focusing much of its attention on the Vaikuntam – I Complex through which all the VIPs and paid ticket holders are allowed for darshan, the second Vaikuntam Complex meant for the ordinary pilgrims naturally has become more susceptible to corruption. The normal inattention nevertheless has proved a blessing in disguise for the staff working at the centre who allegedly step-down their duties with bloated pockets.

Fast bucks

Speculations are also a rife that these reprehensible deeds are carried out hand-in-glove with the supervisory staff working at the complex if the recent episode wherein an attendant Ranganayak was taken into custody for unauthorisedly allowing a couple of devotees for darshan by way of collecting huge sums in return substantiates the growing nexus with the middlemen.

But, however, this remains a tip of the ice-berg. The convoluted queue line system with several divided compartments also serve a major source for making fast bucks besides the ‘Access cards’ system.

Access card system reprieves the devotees of long waiting hours inside the Vaikuntam complex and enables them to report back at the prescribed time for darshan as mentioned over the tokens.

The earmarking of separate queue line systems for Divya Darshan token holders, senior and physically challenged citizens besides exclusive entry for certain Arjitha Sevas have turned out to be perennial springs for fraudulent practices.

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