The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), custodian of the Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday clarified that the recent seizure of tonsured hair by Assam Rifles at the Mizoram-Myanmar border had nothing to do with it. "The recent seizure of 120 bags of tonsured human hair in the borders of Mizoram-Myanmar by Assam Rifles has nothing to do with the TTD," said a temple official.
He said the temple e-auctions all the tonsured hair donated by the devotees to international bidders. "TTD hands over the hair stock through tenders to the bidders after deducting prescribed GST (Goods and Services Tax). Thereafter TTD will not interfere on issues like whether the bidder possessed international export permits or where all they dispose of their stock once it is sold," he said.
He said the temple custodian will blacklist those erring companies if they are officially declared by the authorities. The TTD’s response came after the Assam Rifles recently seized 120 bags of tonsured human hair and suspected them to have arrived from the Tirupati temple without any valid documents.
Officials suspected that the hair was being smuggled to Myanmar and later to other countries for further processing. Millions of devotees donate their hair to the AP temple which it sells away through e-auction and is believed to make more than Rs 100 crore just by selling hair.
Meanwhile, in view of the increasing COVID-19 cases and 10 TTD employees contracting the virus, the board has reportedly decided to allow only 45,000 devotees per day from April 1. Along with that, the devasthanam has also planned to reduce the issuance of free darshan tokens to 15,000 per day against 22,000 from April 1. For April, 25,000 darshan slots have been booked, and depending on the situation, these tickets will be either cancelled or postponed, The New Indian Express reported.