HYDERABAD: In an effort to bring more transparency and accountability in the functioning of temples, the government of Andhra Pradesh has decided to bring temples under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.
According to sources, endowments minister P Manikyala Rao had already written to chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in this regard and the chief minister had also given green signal to bring temples under the RTI Act.
This means people can now access to information regarding the functioning of over 23,000 temples, including Tirumala, Srisailam and other prominent temples, situated in the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh.
‘’The temples are being run by people’s money so what is the harm if they are able to access to the information regarding its functioning. People have every right to know about the activities taking place in the temple and the money being spend on,’’ an endowment official pointed out.
The move will help in streamlining the temple’s functioning and make it more accountable, says another official of the department.
However, there are sections of people who were not sure whether the government would be able to implement its proposal. Many feel that the TTD board and other prominent temple managements would not accept government’s proposal and would resist.
Moreover, with several powerful people in the TTD board bring it under the RTI Act would not be an easy task for the government of AP. The overall revenue of TTD stood at Rs 2,262.52 crore during 2013-14.
With several scandals involving the TTD like fake laddu tokens, archana tickets, ‘Kalyanotsavam’, dollar sales, soap oil and gas spare parts, the TTD board may resist the government’s move. Similarly, Srisailam and other top-earning temples of the state may also oppose the government’s move.
TTD to Set Up Solar Plant in Anantapur
The solar power plant will be a joint venture with TTD joining hands with a private player. The TTD has already started negotiations with companies involved in solar power generation. The TTD would provide land to the private player to establish a solar plant and in return it would share revenue on power generation. It is learnt that the TTD want to sell the power generated through solar plant to APGenco and in return it wants them to supply same amount of power to Tirumala. In this way it could save lot of power bills. The TTD authorities have already got an array of solar panels installed atop the TTD administrative building to minimise the dependence on the grid. Larsen and Toubro, in association with Aeon Renewable Energy Solutions and Crux Industries India of Chennai, have got the 100 KW solar photovoltaic roof-top power plant installed at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore atop the TTD administrative building last year. The temple has also installed solar-powered lights, solar cooking system, windmills and a water recycling station.
Free Snacks on Tirumala
Next time when you visit Tirumala you will get delicious snacks free of cost. The credit for this goes to endowments minister P Manikyala Rao, who during his last visit to Tirumala found that the snacks being sold at the tiffin centres in and around Tirumala at very high rates. Hence he decided to provide snacks free of cost to the devotees. Already free meals are being provided to devotees under the ‘Nitya annadanam’ scheme. Daily on an average over 60,000 devotees are provided meals in Tirumala.