ANDHRA PRADESH

BJP too opposes Govt. move

HYDERABAD June 26. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State unit on Thursday opposed the State Government's moves to mobilise funds from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) for the conduct of Godavari Pushkarams.

Addressing a press conference here, the BJP State vice-president, S.V Seshagiri Rao, and others said that it was not proper on the part of the Government to ask the TTD to contribute Rs 36 crores towards the Common Good Fund. While the religious institutions were bound to be free from political interference, the TTD is being subject to political pressures at different levels. "This reflects that the claims on the TTD autonomy are only a farce,'' he said.

According to Mr Rao, under Clause 65 (b) of the TTD act, the TTD should contribute either 7 per cent of its revenue or Rs 50 lakhs, whichever is less, to the Government. But, the Government included Section 88 in the TTD act of 1987 which facilitates the Government to utilise the revenues of the religious institution in whichever way it liked. "But this is against the secular spirit and hence, the Government should scrap the section with immediate effect,'' he said.

The senior BJP leader said that there were apprehensions among the people on the way the reserve funds of the TTD were being utilised. "Are the funds being shown as securities or are they being utilised as sureties. It is the duty of the Government to ensure that the funds are not misused. But at the same time, steps should be taken to see that they are not utilised as the Government wishes,'' he said.

He also objected to the Government asking the TTD to contribute Rs 5 crores for organising the golden jubilee celebrations of the Sri Venkateswara University. "The funds can be mobilised from the University Grants Commission or other sources, why should the TTD contribute to the celebrations,'' he said citing the celebrations of Osmania University and Andhra University for which the UGC provided the required funds.

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