VIJAYAWADA: Taking serious view of the controversy over issuance of tickets with advertisement promoting pilgrimage to Jerusalem in buses plying at Tirumala, the AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) on Sunday suspended the Controller of Stores, Nellore, M Jagadeesh Babu “for negligence and dereliction of duties which have resulted in a situation of communal disharmony at Tirumala and caused serious embarrassment to the government”.
It may be recalled that recently, the RTC issued bus tickets promoting pilgrimage to Jerusalem in a bus at Tirumala, triggering an uproar from the Hindu community. The endowments department had ordered an inquiry into the issue. Meanwhile, the RTC, which immediately withdrew the tickets with the advertisement, ordered an inquiry by KVRK Prasad, executive director (operations). The APSRTC, in a release, said that in the inquiry it was found that 29,800 TIM rolls were supplied by M/s Perfect Coated Papers India Pvt Ltd to zonal stores, Nellore with advertisement issued by the State government’s minority welfare department on the reverse side of the TIM rolls. With the election code of conduct coming into force from March 10, the TIMs were not supplied to depots as they contained advertisements on government schemes. Once the MCC was over, the Controller of Stores, Nellore, supplied the TIM rolls to depots.
“The Controller of Stores, Nellore, issued 1,000 TIM rolls containing such advertisements to Tirumala depot, which triggered a protest by devotees on August 22 at Ram Bagicha Bus Station in Tirumala,’’ the release issued by A Koteswara Rao, ED (Administration) said. The Controller of Stores should have taken care to notice the contents of the advertisements issued by the minorities department. The official had failed to ensure that such TIM rolls are not supplied to Tirumala and other depots which are operating buses on Tirupati-Tirumala route,” the report found.
Based on the inquiry report, the RTC suspended the Controller of Stores, pending further disciplinary proceedings.