The counsel for the TTD said that they had imposed a fine on erring hoteliers, but that did not satisfy the court.

Why are hotels continuing to fleece devotees Hyderabad HC irked at TTDFile photo
news Law Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 08:35

The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the affairs of the Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala, for failing to act on hotels in the temple town that were fleecing pilgrims.

The court directed the Executive Officer (EO) of the TTD to appear before the court in a week, and file an action taken report on the court's previous order. 

The counsel for the TTD said that they had imposed a fine on erring hoteliers, but that did not satisfy the court. 

“You have said that you imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on such hoteliers. What impact will it have if their daily income itself is more than Rs 50,000. They will pay the penalty and continue their irregularities...The EO thinks he is above law. Hence, let him come and assist this court," the bench was quoted as saying.

In November last year, the court asked the TTD to regulate errant hoteliers, traders and shop owners in Tirumala.

The court's directive came after a public interest petition by a devotee, that many shopkeepers and restaurant owners in the temple town fleeced the devotees following demonetisation by the Centre, as many charged a 'commission' of Rs 50 or Rs 100 to exchange a Rs 500 note.

The TTD, which manages the richest Hindu temple in the world, has stated that it clocks around 1 lakh visitors on a daily basis, and a Hundi collection of nearly Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore every day.

Following demonetisation, when hotels and lodges were hit, the TTD witnessed an increase in devotee donations and 'hundi' collections.

Reports at the time stated that 5.13 lakh pilgrims visited the temple in the eight days that followed demonetisation, and the hundi registered a whopping Rs 22.9 crore.

In April this year, the temple reportedly earned Rs 1,038 crore through cash offerings from devotees in 2016-17.

It has approved an annual budget of Rs 2,858 crore for 2017-18.

 

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