Andhra Pradesh

As pilgrim footfalls plummet, TTD revenues take a big hit

The temple of Lord Venkateswara has been registering thin crowds since the second week of April.

The pilgrim turnout, which was about 50,000 a day till the first half of April, plummeted to a little over 20,000 later following the suspension of ‘Sarvadarshanam’ from April 12 to curb the spread of the second wave of COVID-19.

As per statistics, the temple had registered footfalls exceeding 20,000 only on five days in the last fortnight. On the remaining days, the pilgrim rush stood well below that mark. The footfalls fell drastically to 9,640 on April 29 and 6,431 on April 30.

Slash in tickets

Slashing the darshan tokens from 30,000 to 15,000 a day in the last week of March and suspending them thereafter are said to be the reasons for the decline in the pilgrim footfalls.

The low turnout has directly impacted the proceeds derived from the temple ‘hundi’, which is the main source of income for the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).

The ‘hundi’ income, which gradually increased to about ₹85 crore a month in the aftermath of the five-phased Unlock process announced by the Central government, took a plunge and stood at around ₹2 crore a day since the second week of April.

As per statistics, the ‘hundi’ income had not exceeded the ₹2 crore-mark for about 11 days in the last fortnight. In fact, the income failed to cross even ₹1 crore on three days. The income netted was an all-time low of ₹62 lakh on April 29.

While things stood such, the TTD brought down the issuance of the ₹300 special entry online darshan tickets from 30,000 to 15,000 a day from Saturday amid fears of the second wave of the pandemic.

Surprisingly, the darshan tickets, which are generally sold out within a couple of days of their release, are still available in ample number on most of the days during the current month.

Officials, on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the steep surge in the COVID-19 positive cases across the country, and feared that the financial position of the institution, which was limping back to normal, will again turn precarious if the situation worsens further.


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 8:19:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/as-pilgrim-footfalls-plummet-ttd-revenues-take-a-big-hit/article34460117.ece

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