Andhra Pradesh

TTD set to lose ₹1.15 crore in chariot goldplating work of Kanipakam temple

The management of Varasiddhi Vinayaka temple at Kanipakam paid ₹1 crore in 2010 and ₹5 crore more in 2019 to the TTD for the goldplating work of a wooden chariot.  

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is rather forced to pay a heavy cost of ₹1.15 crore for extending its expertise for a noble cause as requested by a fellow temple.

The Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka temple at Kanipakam, which is under the purview of the Endowments Department, sought the help of TTD for goldplating of its processional wooden chariot in 2008. The temple paid ₹1 crore in 2010 and ₹5 crore more in 2019 to the TTD to provide gold malam (gilding) and copper ornamental design to cover the wooden chariot.

Gold price

The TTD agreed to help when the gold price was ₹3,793 per gram in November, 2019 and the estimated project cost was put at ₹7.15 crore, including the cost of materials, labour and centage charges.

The TTD’s Works Committee initially decided to purchase 15 kg of gold required for the project from the MMTC, Hyderabad, but later chose to utilise the in-house gold at the prevailing cost.

However, in spite of specific requests from the TTD to meet the enhanced cost, the Kanipakam temple authorities reportedly stuck to the original cost of ₹6 crore, even as twelve years have passed from the date of proposal.

What is sending shock waves to the devout is the TTD trust board’s decision to consider the gold rate as per the Chennai bullion market prevailing on the dates of receipt of payment of ₹1 crore and ₹5 crore from the Kanipakam temple.

The approval, through the resolution number 253 during the meeting held on November 28, indirectly amounts to expressing willingness to bear the loss of ₹1.15 crore for the yet-to-begin project.

Decision raises eyebrows

It is a normal practice of the government to assess the project cost based on Standard Schedule of Rates (SSR) on the day it is taken up, not on the day of issue of order. The TTD’s decision is now under question not only for being entirely ‘out of sync’ with the administrative procedure, but also for defying logic. Also, there is no mention of GST liability incurred on the gold as raised by the Finance Department, which means more burden on the TTD exchequer.

When contacted by The Hindu, Regional Joint Commissioner and Kanipakam Executive Officer A. Venkatesh said that he had not received any official communication on the TTD’s decision.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 2:11:20 AM |

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