The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which recently abolished the practice of VIP Break Darshans that gave privileged access to beat the queue at the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, is busy coming up with a new system.
While the decision to abolish the system was taken by TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy, media reports state that Executive Officer (EO) Anil Kumar Singhal is busy devising a new system.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Tirumala Special Officer AV Dharma Reddy had said, "There will be a single VIP darshan category. We will have a single ticket of Rs 500 for everyone, with different categories in it, VIP or not. The ticket will be uniform for everyone. Depending on the number of visitors, we will decide how many tickets we can give daily; (We will decide) whether to give 100 or 200 or 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 tickets without inconveniencing regular devotees, on a day to day basis."
However, it seems that this will not be all. According to plans being drawn up by the TTD, it is contemplating if it should grant a certain number of VIP break darshan tickets to those who donate over Rs 10,000 to the Sri Venkateswara Alaya Nirmanam (Srivani) Trust.
The Trust, which is overseen by the TTD, deals with the construction and maintainance of temples across the state.
This system seeks to replace the 'recommendation' system that was in place, where devotees obtained recommendation letters from sitting MPs, legislators, higher cadre officials and TTD employees, to skip the queue.
Speaking to media earlier this week, TTD Chairman Subba Reddy said, "We have come to a collective decision after many days of deliberation with the EO. From today, the L1, L2, L3 system is being abolished. We do not wish to hurt the feelings of senior dignitaries but we wish to help the regular devotees who stand in long queues for darshan. In front of the deity, everyone is an equal devotee."
The VIP Break Darshan system gave ticketed entry to some VIPs so that they could skip the long queues and the crowd. But it had led to long-standing accusations of discrimination from the devotees who would have to wait for hours.
The TTD chairman said there would still be a provision for visiting dignitaries which will be announced at a later time.