The trust of Tirupati Sri Venkateswara or Balaji Temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, in Andhra Pradesh has said it does not have enough cash to pay salary to its staff and meet daily expenses in view of the nation-wide lockdown to tackle novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Times of India reported that during the lockdown period the temple has lost income to the tune of Rs 400 crore even as it has spent Rs 300 crore towards salaries, pensions and other expenses.
However, the temple doesn’t want to touch about Rs 14,000 crore it has deposited with the banks as fixed deposits nor “touch” the eight tonnes of gold reserve it has.
The Tirumala Temple Devasthanam, one of the richest temple trusts in the world, spends Rs 2,500 crore annually as fixed expenditure on poojas and other religious functions.
During the current financial year, the Devasthanam estimates its outgo on salary to staff and pensions at nearly Rs 1,400 crore. The monthly outgo on salaries and pension is Rs 120 crore.
Besides, the trust spends Rs 400 crore on various charitable trusts, including educational institutions, devotees guest houses, hostels and healthcare facilities.
During summer holidays and other festival seasons such as Dasara, the temple attracts huge crowd running to nearly a lakh per day.
Before the temple was shut on 19 March ahead of the nation-wide lockdown, the temple witnessed crowds totalling 40,000 every day.
Though the temple will likely open soon with curbs on movement and nation-wide lockdown being removed gradually, temple officials fear that the Devasthanam might not be able to get the anticipated revenue this year.
Earlier this year, the Tirupati Tirumala Trust smartly withdrew Rs 1,300 crore it had deposited with YES Bank, when it faced a financial crunch. The amount was withdrawn after its Chairman Y V Subba Reddy got a report that YES Bank’s financial position was not sound.
So far, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,980 Covid-19 cases with 45 deaths. Among the latest to test positive are 11 persons in Chittoor district, in which the Sri Venkateswara temple is located, traced to the Koyambedu Vegetable and Fruits Market in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
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