Tiruchanur tangle: residents miffed over TTD’s decision

Rumblings began in Tiruchanur right on the day the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) decided at its trust board meeting to take over the Panchayat to facilitate planned development in and around the Goddess Padmavathi temple.

Though the intention was to prepare the village to meet the growing rush, the TTD management has obviously ignored the import of taking the residents into confidence, making them raise a banner of revolt.

It is more than a fortnight since the decision was taken, but the ‘take over’ fear is all-pervasive.

It is the second most thronged temple in the TTD circuit after Tirumala hills. In fact, many revere it as a must-visit shrine, given the belief that Padmavathi, worshipped as the Lord’s consort, appeared in a lotus pond (the present ‘Pushkarini’) in Tiruchanur. The TTD has introduced several sevas here on the lines of Tirumala, besides ‘Annadanam’ to provide meals to the visiting pilgrims. The temple is visited by around 35,000 pilgrims every day. As the present queue line can hold around 1,000 waiting pilgrims, the TTD is considering takeover of the ZP High School building to expand the queue line.

The villagers, however, have a different take on the issue. Though the temple is thronged in tens of thousands, not even a hundred stay back and the village gets a deserted look after ‘Ekanta Seva’ (the final ritual for a given day).

“So, where is the need for building hundreds of rooms?” asks M. Nagaraju, a resident. Further, heavy rush is witnessed only once a year i.e., on ‘Panchami Theertham’ day of Brahmotsavam.

“Envisaging the requirements for the next 20-25 years, we are acquiring a 5.5 acre land in Tiruchanur for a multipurpose complex, which will have accommodation, cloak room, spiritual library, curio shop etc. Our move will in fact spur economic growth in the village,” TTD Joint Executive Officer P. Venkatrami Reddy explained to Sources . The takeover will also help make the Panchayat a ‘liquor-free and meat-free zone’.

The compensation paid during land acquisition a couple of years ago to widen the four streets around the temple was far from satisfactory and as such the residents are already sore over the TTD.

The stoic silence may turn out to be a difficult task for the authorities in convincing the residents that the ‘takeover’ plan is only for their good.


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