The affairs at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) continue to invite the attention landing into one controversy after another. After going back on the controversial move of selling lands donated to TTD by their devotees, owing to massive public outrage, the TTD makes another controversial move by regularization of additional land occupied by two Mutts on the hill even after facing backlash from devotees and opposition parties.
On June 4, 2020, YSRCP government released a G.O regularizing the lands occupied additionally by the Mouna Swamy Mutt and Vishaka Sri Sharada Peetham. In response to an earlier representation by the Executive Officer of TTD, the Special Chief Secretary to Government issued the G.O.
According to the G.O. an extent of 1870 Sq.ft. additionally occupied by Sri Mouna Swamy Mutt was fixed at an additional lease amount of 374 per Sq.ft., 4817 Sq.ft additionally occupied by Vishaka Sri Sharada Peetham at 964 per Sq.ft. This move of regularizing land encroachments is criticized severely.
Several other organizations also criticized the move as land is a very scarce resource on the hill and accommodating and regularizing this land would create unnecessary disturbances in the future. The regularisation of land is seen as a favour to please the head of Vishaka Sri Sharada Peetam Swamy Paripornandra Saraswati. Jagan Mohan Reddy in the past had openly displayed his adherence and closeness to the seer.
BJP leader and ex-minister Manikyala Rao states that neither TTD nor Endowments Department has any right to give away the lands that belong to the Devotees. Manikyala Rao insisted that the land regularisations were part of political favours by the ruling party and found fault with the government’s ability to manage and protect the temple lands. Soon after assuming the office, Jagan Mohan Reddy
Soon after taking office, the Chief Minister visited Swamy Paripurnanda and sought his blessings. Even Chief Minister of Telangana KCR has also been a follower of Swamy, Visited him after winning the elections in 2018.
Media reports have suggested that Out of 31 Mutts, 27 mutts are involved in land encroachments, constructed permanent buildings, car parking structures, and other buildings. TTD revenue department issued notices to more than ten organizations for such irregularities. Several Mutts have requested the officials to approve their unauthorized constructions by collecting extra lease amounts and other fees, of which only 2 Mutts were granted regularizations.
TTD Chairman YV Subbareddy rubbished the claims stating “This has not been given to individuals, but given to mutts engaged in propagating Hinduism”. Adding to that he said the mutts already have buildings with Kalyana Mandapams, meeting halls and sought more lands to improve existing facilities and granted accordingly.