Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Executive Officer A.V. Dharma Reddy has denied any misuse or diversion of SriVani trust funds, saying that the construction and renovation of more than 1,402 temples in various parts of the country are in various stages of progress.
Taking strong exception to what he described as ‘false narratives’ that are doing the rounds on social media platforms despite repeated denials by the TTD, Mr. Dharma Reddy said that the construction of 932 temples with a budget outlay of ₹100 crore had been taken up jointly with the Endowments Department, works of 320 temples were taken up in joint collaboration with the Samarasata Foundation at a cost of ₹32 crore.
In addition to these, the TTD has also taken up the renovation of 150 temples at a cost of ₹71 crore, he said.
Saying that the construction and renovation works would be completed in six months, Mr. Dharma Reddy said that around 676 applications for construction of temples were under consideration.
Addressing the media here on January 23 (Monday), the TTD EO said that the trust was grounded in February 2019 with an intention to extend one-time benefit to devotees donating in thousands and multiples and at the same time promote Sri Lord Venkateswara and check religious conversions particularly in SC, ST, BC and fishermen colonies. So far, around ₹650 crore has been accrued by the trust.
“There is no question of diverting the TTD funds. The allegations that the funds are channeled to general funds account are false and misleading. The funds received through the trust are in safe custody in the form fixed deposits,” said Mr. Dharma Reddy.
To ensure daily dhoopa, deepa and naivedhyam at small, marginal and cash strapped temples, the TTD is providing them a monthly aid of ₹5,000 each, he said.
Giving details of various developmental and charitable works taken up by the TTD, the EO said of the 396 Kalyana mandapams in the Telugu States, the rental rates of 14 mandapams were enhanced only after effecting improvements.
In reply to a question, he said that the TTD would shortly acquire the anti-drone technology in the aftermath of surfacing of controversial visuals of the hill temple.
“The anti-drone technology at present is used by Indian Navy. The TTD is also deliberating with Bharat Electronics Limited for the supply of the same. The TTD is contemplating with the idea of securing static anti-drone technology to meet its requirements. We are also in consultation with the donors who can sponsor the costly technology which is estimated to run into several crores,” said the TTD EO.
He said the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) personnel were permitted to take drone visuals from the Annadanam complex to Kakulakonda garbage centre. But, it is yet to be ascertained whether it was an act of over-enthusiasm of the personnel or a 3 D imaging picture. The police are already at work and the video sent to forensic lab for authentication, he added.