Andhra govt puts TTD auctioning properties on hold, wants board to hold consultation

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam had decided to auction 50 of its immovable properties that are 'unviable, not useful and prone to encroachment.
AP government decides to put the auction of TTD properties on hold
AP government decides to put the auction of TTD properties on hold
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Following opposition from various quarters, particularly the BJP and its ally Jana Sena Party (JSP), the Andhra Pradesh government has issued orders to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) trust board, to put its decision to sell its immovable properties, on hold. 

TTD had decided to auction 50 of its immovable properties, stating that they are 'unviable, not useful and prone to encroachment.' 

The state government has now asked the TTD board to discuss the issue with religious leaders and “opinion-makers” among others, to try and find alternate uses for the land. A government order issued in this regard on Monday said that until the matter is finalised, the decision to dispose of the 50 properties must be suspended. 

“Keeping in view the sentiments of the devotees, the Government hereby directs TTD to re-examine the issue in consultation with different stakeholders like religious elders, opinion makers, a section of devotees etc., to ascertain whether these properties can be used by TTD for construction of temples, dharma pracharam, and other religious activities,” the order issued by the General Administration Department said.

The TTD Executive Officer has been asked to submit a compliance report on the action taken in this regard. 

Among the 50 immovable properties, 17 properties are in rural Andhra Pradesh and nine are in urban parts of the state. Twenty-three properties are in Tamil Nadu, while one property, which spans 1.20 acres, is in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. The land in Rishikesh has been allegedly encroached upon and illegal constructions have come up there.

TTD said that these properties are tiny house plots between 1 cent and 5 cent, as well as farmlands between 10 cents and below one acre. These are 'non-maintainable and non-revenue generating properties’, it said.

While BJP state president Kanna Lakshminarayana termed TTD's decision as an “insult to Hindu sentiments”, Pawan Kalyan stated, "Devotion cannot be sold. A government cannot hurt the belief and faith of millions of devotees."

Member of Parliament for Bengaluru South Lok Sabha Constituency Tejasvi Surya, too, opposed the move.

Earlier on Monday, TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy reiterated that the decision to put up the unused land holdings for auction had been made by the TTD board way back in January 2016. He stated the media outlets and others who were criticising the move now were politicising the matter in the name of god.

TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy had earlier told TNM that the move to sell the immovable properties, which was donated by devotees, was proposed by the previous board, during Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government's tenure.

He added that the board, which also included some BJP members, had resolved to auction these 50 properties on January 30, 2016.

TTD Chairman also pointed out that 129 such properties were auctioned between 1974 and 2014.

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