Facing stiff opposition to the proposed auctioning 50 immovable ‘unviable’ properties donated by devotees of Lord Venkateswara, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday suspended it and asked the hill temple administration to re-examine its decision.
The government directed the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which administers the cash-rich hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala, to take a fresh decision on auctioning the properties in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand after consulting devotees and religious heads among others, a temple official said.
The decision came amid opposition by BJP, Janasena party, CPI-M, TDP and Congress besides devotees, who contended that the move would hurt the sentiments of those who had donated the properties to the ancient temple of Lord Venkateswara.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of devotees, the government hereby directs TTD to re-examine the issue in consultation with different stakeholders like religious elders, opinion makers, section of devotees etc.,” a government order said.
It asked the TTD to ascertain whether these properties located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand can be used by it for construction of temples, dharma pracharam and other religious activities.
TTD Chairman Y V Subba Reddy had on Sunday said the immovable properties which are set to be auctioned included tiny houses and house plots measuring between one cent (approximately 400 sq feet) and 5 cents and farming lands between 10 cents and below one acre.
He had said these properties donated by devotees to the hill shrine several decades ago were non-maintainable and non- revenue generating for TTD as they were “very petty and unviable.” Andhra and Tamil Nadu have 26 and 23 such properties respectively and one land in Rishikesh, he had said adding a total income of about Rs 24 crore was expected to fetched from the auctions.