TTD arms devotees on Alipiri route in AP
The move comes in the wake of the leopard attack that claimed the life of a six-year-old last month.
TIRUMALA: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) launched safety measures by distributing wooden sticks to devotees trekking to Tirumala along the Alipiri pedestrian route. The TTD trust board chairman Bhumana Karunakara Reddy along with Executive Officer (EO) AV Dharma Reddy launched the programme by handing over sticks to devotees at Alipiri Padala Mandapam on Wednesday. The move comes in the wake of the leopard attack that claimed the life of a six-year-old last month.
Speaking to reporters, Bhumana said, “This is a part of the self-defence exercise to boost the confidence of the devotees against attack by wild animals.” The statement by the TTD chairman comes on a day when the movement of two more leopards was captured by trap cameras.
Referring to the efforts of the TTD to prevent attack by wild animals, Bhumana stated, “Devotees were sent in groups with security guards, police personnel were deployed and wild animal-prone zones were demarcated along the walkway. These measures helped in capturing four leopards.”
The wooden sticks will be taken back from the devotees after they reach Sri Narasimha Swami temple. “We want to ensure that every devotee feels safe during the pilgrimage,’’ the TTD chief asserted. Elaborating on the leopards on the prowl, Dharma Reddy said, “The movement of the two big cats have been traced near the seventh-mile point and Shilathoranam. Cages have been arranged to capture the beasts in both the places.”
In this view, devotees are allowed to walk on the Alipiri footpath in groups along with the security personnel. “The devotees have been alerted about the wildlife activity through the broadcasting system. The forest department has also recruited 100 staff to ensure the safety of devotees,” the EO explained.
Meanwhile, the TTD has sent proposals to the Wildlife Institute of India and the Union Forest Ministry for the construction of steel fencing along the Alipiri footpath, which falls in the reserved forest zone.