ANDHRA PRADESH

Civic body too to seek TTD funds

TIRUPATI June 26. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which is already in a fix with the Government training its guns at it seeking funds for the Godavari Pushkarams, is likely to face stepped up pressure from the Tirupati Municipality too.

Apart from the Government, SV University is also learnt to be contemplating seeking a grant of Rs.5 crores for celebrating its golden jubilee next year. And now, the municipality is planning to invite the Government's intervention in making the TTD foot its electricity bill.

With the water reserves on the Tirumala hills depleting, the TTD is forced to depend on the Kalyani dam to meet the needs of over 50,000 visiting pilgrims though the water is actually meant to quench the thirst of Tirupati.

As the water reaches the hills by gravitational force, it involves no pumping cost. The municipality, on the other hand, with no other option, depends entirely on the Telugu Ganga water being pumped from the Kandaleru reservoir to the temple town via the Kailasagiri reservoir near Srikalahasti, covering a distance of 80 km. The pumping expenditure has burdened the civic body. It is paying Rs.40 lakhs a month towards electricity charges alone.

At the municipal meet held here today, the Chairperson, K. Sankar Reddy, hinted at writing to the Chief Minister to direct the TTD to foot its power bill as it was to meet the TTD's needs the civic body was forced to depend on the Telugu Ganga water.

The shelved demand for imposing tax on devotees entering the temple town for development of amenities was revived today, albeit in a different form, with the municipality planning to seek a share in the toll fee collected by the TTD from pilgrims.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Sankar Reddy said he was planning to write to the TTD to share Re.1 out of the toll collected from every four-wheeler proceeding to the hills.

As the pilgrims pass through the town and use the amenities provided by the civic body before going the hills, it was not at all unjustified, he said.

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